|The victors of both the boys and girls titles at the TwinTip:Racing (TT:R) Slalom Youth World Champions sealed their wins with dominant performances that mirrored their progress through the enthralling event on China’s tropical Hainan Island.
The Dominican Republic’s Deuri Corniel was almost untouchable in the high-octane races, capturing the title with room to spare. He was so far ahead in the rankings, he was able to discard wins from earlier elimination round deciders.
If anything, Spain’s Nina Font Castells grabbed the girls’ title with a display that was even more consistent, taking four straight elimination deciders from the six that were squeezed into the three days of racing.
The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) TT:R Youth Worlds staged on the sparkling waters of Asia Bay, Bo’ao, also doubled as the final qualification event for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.
In landing their world titles, Corniel and Font Castells also earned their nations a coveted spot at the games in Buenos Aires in October when kiteboarding’s first Olympic medals will be awarded.
Three other slots each for boys and girls were also secured at the Youth Worlds. The boys’ places were won by China’s Haoran Zhang, Croatia’s Martin Dolenc, and France’s Benoit Gomez. But because each nation can take only one spot for boys and girls, the Dominican Republic’s Lorenzo Calcano had to be content with his third place on the podium behind Zhang.
Italy’s Sofia Tomasoni forfeited her Youth World crown, but her second podium spot earned her country a YOG slot, as did China’s Kewen Li and France’s Poema Newland, who finished third and fourth respectively.
In the complex calculus of YOG qualification, Italy and China’s podium finishes in Asia Bay take precedence over earlier victories at continental qualifiers in Dakhla, Morocco, and Pranburi, Thailand.
Italy and China now cede those places to Germany after Alina Kornelli posted a second in Dakhla, while Thailand will get a place at the YOG after Nichanan Rodthong took a third spot in Pranburi.
The joy and relief was evident in the cheers, smiles and hugs among the young athletes on the beach as racing was cut short on the fifth and final day of competition due to an impending thunderstorm.