From Monday the 15th of May the sea water in front of Mondello will once again fill itself up with the different coloured sails of windsurfing champions who will be taking part in the 2006 edition of the European Mistral Class Championships. This event that is held every year in Mondello’s gulf is back with great windsurfing races, year after year the World Championships that are held here have brought the best wind-surfers to Sicily and have saw great winnings from Nicolas Hueguet from France and the young Spanish girl Blanca Manchon.
This event is organised by the Albaria in collaboration with IMCO and protection from the FIV and ISAF, the European Championships is in the program of the XXI edition of the World Festival on the Beach, a “classic” event that each year in spring offers to the audience in Palermo the best of sails sports, beach volley and music. The first windsurf race is due to take place at 12 noon on Monday the 15th of May whilst in the evening athletes and technicians will take part in the opening ceremony of the championships. These races will carry on until Friday the 19th of May.
A location for talented athletes and an ideal place for great windsurf championships to perform, as what had also happened in the 2005 World Championships. The Hong Kong Team and the Olympic Champion from New Zealand Bruce Kendall were the first to arrive in Mondello to begin preparing for this European Competition which is however open to competitors from other continents. After Nikos Kaklamanakis, leader of the young Greek team, trained the Hong Team it’s now the athlete from New Zealand’s turn to train this team in the water under the slopes of Monte Pellegrino, a team that has amongst its athletes Ho Chi Ho, who is number 32 in the ISAF national rankings, an aspiring athlete who will probably be well talked about throughout the week.
Amongst his opponents there will be Paco Wirz, who will do his best to keep the flag flying for the club that holds the event, whilst the Olympic veteran Riccardo Giordano won’t be participating as he was called from the National team to take part in the ISAF games to be held in Austria, he has gone straight in amongst the finalists thanks to his world ranking position. An important absence for the European Championships, but a good recognition to his sports career for the athlete from Palermo who at the good old age of 36 years old keeps hold of his position in Italy, stringing his younger team mates along.
The XXI edition of the World Festival on Beach hasn’t only programmed the European Windsurf Championships. From the 20th to the 21st of May the athletes will be back in the water for a race which has become a classic event, the IMCO Sicily Grand Prix, which will present itself with some new changes. In this event apart from the outgoing Mistral board there will also be the new RS:X, the table chosen for the next Olympic games to be held in 2008 in Beijing, with Riccardo Giordano back from Austria, he hopes to improve his second place he took last year with Riccardo Belli dell’Isca and Dario Baffetti in the Nation Cup.