2022 Formula Kite Open Africa and Middle East Championships

Sailors from 5 continents gathered on the exotic island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean to take part in the 2022 Formula Kite Open African and Middle East Championships.

© IKA Media: Racing in the lagoon means white, coral sand and transparent water.

The lagoon in front of Preskil Resort, in the south of the island, was breathtaking background to the competition.  Black volcanic rocky volumes, sugarcane plantations and rainforest made a dramatic landscape, contrasting the white, coral sand and the transparent water.

The races were sailed over 5 days, in medium wind conditions and relatively warm weather, considering that for the southern hemisphere this period is the end of winter.

© IKA Media: Alexander Ehlen dominated the competition

In the men’s division, Monegasque Alexander Ehlen was clearly the winner, only being challenged in a few races by 16-year-old Qbin Huang from China, who once more ended up with a silver medal, after the Asian championship in Thailand in March and the Youth Worlds in Italy in May.  It is only a matter of time to see him on the top step of the podium, demonstrating that Asia is strong in kiteboarding.

© IKA Media: Local hero Jean De Falbaire enjoying the media attention.

Completing the podium, and best African competitor was local hero Jean De Falbaire who, although far from the first two, showed good form and is a promising prospect for Mauritius and Africa in general ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

© IKA Media: Women's podium

In the women’s division the pattern was pretty similar to the men.  Jessie Kampman from France dominated the competition only being briefly challenged by Maggie Pascetto from Italy, while the other two Italians, Sofia Tomassoni and Tiana Laporte, were engaged in a much closer battle which saw the 2018 YOG gold medalist Tomassoni finishing third and leaving Laporte off the podium.

© IKA Media: When the wind dies... Sofia Tomassoni helping out Gian Andrea Stragiotti.

Julie Paturau was the best African woman, making it 2/2 for Mauritius and bringing a good deal of joy to the local authorities who recognize that kiteboarding might be the vehicle to international sporting excellence for the small island nation.

© IKA Media: Black volcanic rocky volumes, sugarcane plantations and rainforest made a dramatic landscape.

This was the first time that the championships were held, joining the Middle East and Africa in a single region, after the IKA revised the allocation of countries to continental championships, in order to better reflect the geographical and cultural distribution of countries.

© IKA Media: Sailors from the local sailing center helping out the Race Committee for the week

IKA Class Manager Markus Schwendtner paid tribute to both the sailors and the organisers. “After a difficult couple of years it is fantastic to come to such an amazing location and being able to race. Many people have been working to help bring this exciting sport alive, and events like this celebrate their efforts, together with the talent, passion and enthusiasm of the riders who dedicate themselves to becoming the best kitefoiling athletes in the world. Mauritius has been amazing, we look forward to coming back here in the future”

1 MON  Alexander Ehlen    
CHN  Qbin Huang   
3    MRI   Jean De Falbaire   
1 FRA  Jessie Kampman      
ITA  Maggie Pescetto   
3    ITA  Sofia Tomassoni   
Full results: https://www.formulakite.org/2022africamiddleeast