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Formula Kite World Championships – Nolot & Maeder win back their world titles

Max Maeder and Lauriane Nolot have successfully defended their titles at the end of the Formula Kite World Championships in Hyères in the south of France.

There have been times over the past week when others rose up to challenge the riders from Singapore and France, but in the end Maeder and Nolot were just too good for the opposition.

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© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Max Maeder getting ready on the beach while the semi-finals conclude
The biggest drama of the final day came in the men’s competition, in Semi Final A. After struggling in the early part of the week with ventilation problems with a new foil package, Toni Vodisek of Slovenia was back to his customary high speed on an older, proven foil setup.

TENSE SEMI

Starting the day in 10th place overall, the 2022 World Champion had a long way to climb if he was going to get into the four-rider final. However, victory in the first semi-final heat suggested the maverick could be back to world-beating form. He pushed hard in the next heat but this time Italian Lorenzo Boschetti took the win just a second in front of the Slovenian.
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© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Bronze medal is Valentin Bontus’s best ever performance
Eventually Axel Mazella closed out the semi-final, the Frenchman advancing to the final alongside other semi-finallist Valentin Bontus of Austria. However in the men’s final, Mazella got his kite caught up with Italy’s Riccardo Pianosi in the first tack out of the start. This left the way clear for Maeder to win the world title at a canter. So the 17-year-old from Singapore takes gold for the second year running, with silver going to Pianosi and bronze to Bontus.

SILVER FOR ALDRIDGE

Ellie Aldridge was the only non-French rider in the women’s final. While the British rider couldn’t quite beat Nolot to the world title, Aldridge took silver with France’s Jessie Kampman getting bronze.
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© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Nolot celebrates on the top step of the women’s podium
Nolot was particularly proud to have won on home waters, just a few kilometres from her house. “I was nervous going out to the start today,” she said. “But then I looked up and saw a rainbow in the sky and I thought to myself, there’s my lucky charm.”

Nolot made the start she wanted, to leeward of the other riders and able to put her foot to the floor and accelerate into the left-hand corner of the race track. While she tacked behind Kampman and the other French rider Poema Newland, Nolot soon moved into the lead by the first windward mark and was never overtaken.
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© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Maeder celebrates on the men’s podium

SHAKING LEGS

“I don’t even have the words to explain how amazing this feels,” she grinned. “It’s so great to see the level in the woman’s league and especially the Frenchies. They’re absolutely pushing so hard on the water. My legs are always shaking when they’re around because they’re pushing at such a high level. This week is good for my confidence going into the Games because it proves I am good enough to win the gold medal at the Olympics.”

Maeder said the feeling of winning would never get old, no matter how familiar it has become for this serial world beater. “I had fortune on my side, I had good luck, I had good races,” he said. “It’s an honour to compete against such great competitors, and I look forward to doing it again with them at the Olympics. I am excited and also a little bit anxious to see what’s going to come because they are going to improve.”
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© IKA media/ Robert Hajduk: Nolot was a popular winner with her local fans in Hyères

NO SLEEP TILL MARSEILLE

After a few days rest in Singapore the hard work begins again for Maeder. “My competitors are going to be better and they have learned a lot during this event. So there is more training ahead, there are still things to improve, there are still lots of things that I’ve learned this week. So we will put in the time to work on them, to refine them, to make sure that everything is set and in order and even better for the Games.”

No doubt that Maeder and Nolot have marked themselves out as the favourites for gold at Paris 2024. But the game changes quickly in Formula Kite and all the athletes will spend the next two months working hard to up their game before the Olympic Regatta this July.

RESULTS MEN

1. Maximilian Maeder SGP Gold
2. Riccardo Pianosi ITA Silver
3. Valentin Bontus AUT Bronze

 

RESULTS WOMEN

1. Lauriane Nolot FRA Gold
2. Ellie Aldridge GBR Silver
3. Jessie Kampman FRA Bronze
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