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Kiteboarding takes wind out of sails

The surprise decision to chop windsurfing from the Olympic programme has prompted jeers from leading athletes, but is being hailed by kiteboarders whose discipline will be showcased for the first time at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

other Updated: May 07, 2012 23:59 IST

The surprise decision to chop windsurfing from the Olympic programme has prompted jeers from leading athletes, but is being hailed by kiteboarders whose discipline will be showcased for the first time at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) announced the decision to include men's and women's kiteboarding at the expense of windsurfing over the weekend, describing it as a "fantastic addition" for the 2016 Games.

"Obviously we've got quite a few young sailors in particular who have been campaigning and building a campaign particularly with 2016 in mind and I guess we've been investing via national windsurfing programmes," Peter Conde, Yachting Australia's high performance director, told Reuters on Monday.

"Clearly those sailors are pretty devastated. At least at first (glance) it looks like their dreams have been dashed by this decision.

"I guess it remains to be seen as to whether many of those athletes might want to take a fresh look and embrace kiteboarding as a new discipline. I guess we'd be encouraging them to look at it."

Windsurfing federations have vowed to pressure sailing's global governing body ISAF to re-instate the sport, with Britain's Bryony Shaw, Olympic bronze medallist at Beijing's Games, supporting an online petition.