African Kite Racing Championships in Soma Bay Day 1
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Soma Bay, June 25, 2014: The African Kite Championship 2014, one of the world’s largest kitesurfing competitions, returned to the Red Sea at 7Bft Kite House in Soma Bay. Champions from around the world, top-ranked sailors, and emerging young talent have travelled to Egypt to compete for the 20,000 Euro prize money and join in the thrilling challenge to hunt down the German world champion Florian Gruber in his efforts to defend his title in 2014.
After narrowly missing last year’s title in Soma Bay, Florian Gruber went on to win 3 world championships in China and Australia. As first in the world, Gruber’s competitors are keen to take his ranking and know they must bring their best skills to Egypt to do so. Most notably is Columbia’s Riccardo Leccese who placed fourth in last year’s championship.
African Kite Racing Championships Day 1 Summary:
The first day of the African Kite Championship 2014 kicked off with an exciting start at 7Bft Kite House in Soma Bay. In the men’s division, German world champion Florian Gruber faced off with his toughest competitor Riccardo Leccese. For the women’s division, the UK’s Steph Bridge, last year’s contenting champion, raced to defend her title against Russia’s emerging talent Elena Kalinina.
Leccese and Kalinina, who both came in 4th in last year’s African Kite Championship in Soma Bay, have made stunning comebacks on their first day of racing. Leccese dominated the first day placing first in all 4 rounds, followed closely by Gruber placing second. Likewise, Kalinina grabbed first place throughout the day with Steph Bridge close on her tail.
Quote Florian Gruber/ Germany: “We finished the first race day and I am currently runner-up, not far away from Ricardo. It is possible to beat him. The next few days will be a tight race for the title.”
Quote Riccardo Leccese/ Italy: “With the champ, Florian ‘the flow’, I have a good relation outside the water but in the water we are warriors. If you are a fish you have to have a shark in your tank, otherwise you sleep. Florian is my shark and I am his, we are always battling for the first position. I like that healthy rivalry. I have been training a lot, I am really committed to do well this year, I won 4 rounds today and I am fully prepared.”
Steph Bridge/ United Kingdom: “I did not have such a great race day but hopefully tomorrow I will find some new speed and some news feeling in my head to continue to perform like last year.”