Aruban Sail Teams Overcome Challenges at World Championships

by Jessica Krozendijk

The World Championships in The Hague 2024 brought significant challenges for both the Aruban IQ Foil Team and the ILCA 7 Team, as well as for numerous other sailors participating in these world championships. Even Olympic champion Kiran Badloe (Tokyo 2022) encountered setbacks, being forced to halt midway through the week due to equipment failure.

Leading up to the world championships, the Aruban sailing team confronted adverse weather conditions. Rainy and cold weather in the lead-up to the competitions resulted in instances of flu among athletes, including on the Aruban team, hampering their performance during the event. Furthermore, the beautiful summer weather that coincided during the event in the Netherlands brought with it scarce wind. These conditions posed an additional challenge for the Aruban team, which excels in and is accustomed to stronger wind conditions.

Each IQ event consists of three components: slalom races with light wind, course races with better wind, and a marathon. This arrangement adds variety to the competitions. Unfortunately, the athletes sometimes had to wait the entire day to sail due to the weak wind, putting significant strain on their concentration. However, due to the light wind conditions during these championships, almost only slalom races took place, ultimately resulting in the Aruban IQ Foil Team narrowly missing the first chance for direct qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Despite this minor setback, Aruba remains in the spotlight. The country found itself in thirteenth place, only a fraction away from the top eleven that secured direct entry to Paris 2024. The first 11 countries are the big countries like France, Italy, Israel etc.  Aruba’s next opportunities lie in the Pan-American Games, for which the team has already qualified, and in January 2024 in Lanzarote, where IQ athletes Ethan Westera and Malik Hoveling have qualified based on their performances in this event.

In the ILCA 7 class, the prolonged wait for wind led to exhausting days. Nonetheless, Just van Aanholt achieved an impressive result in the gold fleet. Just made a lot of progress in this difficult fleet.  He too will strive to qualify for Paris 2024 during the Pan-American Games.

In summary, Aruba has showcased its progress in the two sailing disciplines reserved for the top of the world’s finest athletes. The journey to Paris 2024 is well within sight for these talented sailing teams.

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