British Windsurfer Slams ISAF Decision to Leave Olympics

By Community | May 9, 2012

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is feeling the pressure from it’s decision to drop the sport from the Olympic program from 2016 after British windsurfer Nick Dempsey critisized the organisation for doing so.

ISAF announced on Saturday that the discipline would be replaced by kiteboarding after this summer’s Games in London.

The announcement has shocked those within the British windsurfing setup, with 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Dempsey believing those who made the decision are “out of touch”.

“It is bizarre. I don’t quite know how the ISAF have come up with the decision, but they have,” Dempsey said.

“It is based on a group of out-of-touch old guys that have no idea what they are talking about and are slowly ruining the sport.

“It is massively out of the blue. A big shock and really disappointing. I can’t actually believe how many people are so passionate about it and emotional about it.

“I think there is going to be quite a backlash and they are certainly not going to lie down and give up. I think people will be working very hard to get the decision overturned.

“It has to try to get back in for the 2020 Games. I think without that windsurfing will fade away a little bit.

“It has to be in the Olympics for it to carry on as an everyday sport. It needs that main kind of media platform at the top to feed everything else.”

Dempsey’s shock has been echoed by Royal Yachting Association Olympic manager Stephen Park, who was disappointed with windsurfing’s exclusion despite acknowledging that it is a major boost for kiteboarding.

Park said: “The recent decision by the ISAF to remove windsurfing from the Olympic programme is clearly a massive blow for windsurfing, while equally a huge opportunity for kitesurfing.

“Having said that, I think windsurfing will continue as a sport, continue as an event and there are plenty of other events that have dropped out of the Olympic programme and indeed come back in.

“I would not go as far as to say it will be the death of windsurfing albeit that it may turn out in history to be the death of it as an Olympic event.

“But with each demise comes a new birth, the new birth of kitesurfing.”