Sharon Kantor (ISR) and Nicolo Renna (ITA) are the new iQFOiL world champions

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2024 iQFOiL Worlds Lanzarote, Marina Rubicón. Photo: © Sailing Energy / iQfoil Class

A thrilling final day of the iQFOiL World Championships, the Olympic windsurfing class, in Lanzarote saw both of the racers who had dominated through the week beaten in the Men’s and Women’s Grand Finals. Italy’s Nicolo Renna, third last year, won the title in the Grand Final for the Men and Israel’s Sharon Kantor won the Women’s world title when she overhauled Britain’s Emma Wilson, who had stamped her authority over the entire championship until the final title showdown.

The nine day championship mustered 200 athletes from 43 countries at Marina Rubicón in Lanzarote. And today’s Grand Final again proved how exciting and how cruel the new Olympic windsurfing format can be, since the winner takes it all. All that matters is who is first across the finish line in the one Grand Final race.

Sharon Kantor beats championship leader Emma Wilson

The women raced first. In the quarterfinals, in which seven compete and only two go forwards to the Semifinal, it was Sharon Kantor (ISR) and Sara Wennekes (NED) who progressed to join Pilar Lamadrid (ESP) and Katy Spychakov (ISR) in the Semis. Having finished on top of the qualifying phases Briton Wilson was already in the Grand Final.

Sharon Kantor. 2024 iQFOiL Worlds Lanzarote, Marina Rubicón. © Sailing Energy / iQfoil Class 03 February, 2024

Katy Spychakov and Sharon Kantor made it to the Grand Final joining Wilson to compete in the last race on the Lanzarote regatta course.

Bronze in the last World Championship in The Hague when she had again led into last day and winner of a bronze medal in Tokyo, Wilson went straight to the Grand Final after winning 15 from 20 races. She jumped the start gun on the first attempt which requires her to take a five second delay to the second attempt. Even so it did not matter and Wilson started the Grand Final recovering those five seconds and taking the lead but the Israeli girl got through to win the title and secure her spot at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games for her country.

“It hasn’t been easy!” she grinned as soon as she crossed the line. “The last race was so tough, and Emma and Katy were so fast! It was a nice fight. I have really enjoyed this event, I have had ups and downs. I am very grateful to have succeeded in the end”.

Defending Dutch world champion Luuc van Opzeeland and Renna have swapped 2023 results.

The Dutch 2023 world champion, like Wilson, remained on the top of the rankings through the whole week and also had gone straight to the Grand Final. But this time it was the Italian who prevailed.

The Italian Nicolo Renna and Pawel Tarnowski (POL) emerged victorious from the Semifinal to face each other in a quick Grand Final – it was resolved in seven minutes – along with the defending champion Luuc van Opzeeland (NED), the big title favourite in Lanzarote.

After an intense start and several lead changes on the last upwind the Italian decided to go to the right, a decision that paid off for him. “I saw that they were going to the other side, I was last so I thought ‘come on, let’s try it’ and it all came good”.

The Italian was delighted but paid tribute to his friend and rival. “We have been together for two months in Lanzarote and it paid off”.

Nicolo Renna. 2024 iQFOiL Worlds Lanzarote, Marina Rubicón. © Sailing Energy / iQfoil Class 03 February, 2024

Pawel Tarnowski wins silver while Luuc van Opzeeland finishes third in the key event before the Olympics: “I had a fabulous start and I thought I rounded the gate first and then I picked the wrong side and I realized half way that the left was not working but I tried to do an early tack but It didn’t pay off downwind. It’s been an amazing week, I am super happy with the result and proud of Nicolo”, he pointed out.

The next Lanzarote International Regatta 2024 World Championships are the 49er and 49erFX, from March 4 to 10.

Final standings

iQFOiL Men

  1. Nicolo Renna (ITA)
  2. Pawel Tarnowski (POL)
  3. Luuc van Opzeeland (NED)

iQFOiL Women

  1. Sharon Kantor (ISR)
  2. Emma Wilson (GBR)
  3. Katy Spychakov (ISR)

Versión en español: Pilar Lamadrid, quinta, se queda a las puertas de las medallas