When kitefoilers Justina Kitchen and Sam Bullock line up at the World Beach Games in Doha, they’ll be making history.
The competition will mark the first-time senior kite athletes have ever competed under the New Zealand Olympic Committee banner as part of the New Zealand Team.
And with kite foiling to make it’s Olympic debut at Paris 2024 the pair say we’ll be seeing a lot more of them.
In the meanwhile they’re looking forward to the Beach Games where more than a thousand athletes from 100 countries will contest 14 sports.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us with really long days on the beach and in the water. We need to be prepared to be outside for six or seven hours in 37-degree heat,” said Kitchen.
Last month the pair claimed bronze in the mixed team event at the recent European Champs and Kitchen says their European success puts them in a strong position heading to Doha.
“We’re feeling good and prepared. We’ve had some great training in Italy and went well at the European Champs so it’s all going really well.”
Above: Sam Bullock in action
The kite races at the Beach Games will be short track (lasting 5-6 minutes) with the athletes to contest around 10 races a day.
“Short track is really fun but quite intense because you’ve got to be switched on and ready for another start at all times.
“It also means more emphasis on your start and manoeuvres because there’s so little time in the race.”
Kitchen says any opportunity to compete in a Games environment like the Olympics is useful.
“Definitely I want to be in Paris but it’s still a long way away. It’s on the radar and for now I’ll just keep trying to be as good as I can and fast as I can and see what happens in 5 years.
“In the meanwhile it’s really cool to be a part of a New Zealand Team and get some exposure to a multi-sport environment.”
Kitchen and Bullock begin competition on October 14th.