2012 Olympics: Olympic place rejection signals the end of an Era

Barbara Kendall sailing in the Medal Race in Qingdao - her fifth Olympics

The rejection, by Yachting New Zealand, of a place in the Womens Windsurfing event at the 2012 Olympics brings to a sad close a five Olympiad era, in which Barbara Kendall won three Olympic medals.

News of the place rejection came with the publication by the International Sailing Federation of the list of accepted Olympic allocations, and the re-allocations.

New Zealand was one of six countries who rejected an Olympic place across four events. Those places have been re-allocated to countries, generally developing sailing countries, who were unable to win a place in the prescribed qualifying process.

Barbara Kendall - Barcelona 1992
Ivor Wilkins
Commenting on the decision and non-selection, Barbara Kendall told Sail-World that while she was disappointed that Yachting NZ aren't sending a competitor, she felt that no-one had met the criteria. 'The selectors made the right decision,' she said.

'If Windsurfing was guaranteed to be in 2016 Olympics, then one of the competitors may have been selected on the basis of future Games potential,' she observed. 'Stephanie, Natalia and Justina all had flashes of brilliance, but could not pull a whole regatta together. All three were looking like great contenders for Rio. Usually it takes eight years to get to Olympic standard.'

'The only NZ competitor to have made selection in the windsurfer was JP Tobin and he is being coached by Aaron McIntosh under the Dutch HP program,' said Kendall 'The YNZ windsurfing coached athletes did not qualify!

'Many of our experienced coaches apart from Grant Beck are all coaching other countries,' she added.

(Kendall's reference to JP Tobin pointed to the to the fact that 2012 NZ Olympic representative JP Tobin was until recently, coached by Aaron McIntosh (Bronze medal winner in 2000) who is coaching 2011 World Champion Dorian van Rijsselberge, who will represent The Netherlands in Weymouth. For the past four months Tobin has been coached by top windsurfing coach, Grant Beck (NZL).)

'The Olympic selectors have reviewed the girls (sic) results and regrettably feel they do not justify an Olympic nomination as no candidate has been able to demonstrate a significant chance of achieving a medal in the 2012 Olympic games,' commented Yachting NZ CEO, David Abercrombie in response to a question from Sail-World.com

After triple Olympic medalist, Barbara Kendall, retired in May 2010 there were four aspirants to take up the challenge of being selected. The strongest of these, at the time, Kate Ellingham dropped out after a short comeback from a training injury and disputed selection by Yachting New Zealand where she believed she had met selection criteria set for the 2011 Pre-Olympics at Weymouth, England.

Ellingham had placed fifth and sixth in two ISAF Grade 1 regattas in 2008 and eighth in the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in 2010.

Three other competitors, Steffanie Williams, Natalia Kosinska and Justina Sellers continued in the selection cycle, and it was Williams who qualified NZ for the 2012 Olympics in the 2011 ISAF World Championship in Perth.

At the Skandia sail for Gold Regatta, sailed at Weymouth, England in early June 2012, Kosinska finished in 17th place overall and Williams 23rd in a 43 strong fleet.

Kate Ellingham (NZL) racing in the RSX Women Class on day 3 of the 2009 Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth and Portland.

20110601 Copyright onEdition 2011© Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition Natalia Kosinska from New Zealand racing in the RSX Women class on day 2 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland, the 2012 Olympic venue. The regatta runs from 6-11 June 2011, bringing together the worldÕs top Olympic and Paralympic class sailors. 2011 marks the sixth edition of Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, with a confirmed record breaking entry of 1050 sailors, in 740 boats, fro

Justina Sellers, competing in the 2007 Auckland Secondary Schools Regatta.

20110601 Copyright onEdition 2011© Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition Steffanie Williams from New Zealand racing in the RSX Women class on day 2 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland, the 2012 Olympic venue. The regatta runs from 6-11 June 2011, bringing together the worldÕs top Olympic and Paralympic class sailors. 2011 marks the sixth edition of Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, with a confirmed record breaking entry of 1050 sailors, in 740 boats, f