Amid huge suspense and unprecedented circumstances, Karolina Winkowska secured the 2014 PKRA Freestyle World Title title today, becoming world champion for the second time in her career. After winning five events over the 2014 tour year and sharing a first place finding at the last stop in Pingtan, she has cemented her spot in the elite group of repeat world title winners.
The PKRA Race Committee decided in agreement with both athletes last week to re-run the super final from Pingtan here at the event in Hainan. As both athletes were ready to enter the water to decide the result in a heat today, a last minute ruling by the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) brought things to an end.
We have considered the facts presented during the IKA Executive Committee meeting held in Palma on November 3, 2014. The Racing Rules of Sailing, which also apply to PKRA competitions, do not allow any races (or heats) to be held outside of the published competition dates. Therefore, if at the end of the competition an unbreakable tie remains (riders had lost one heat each in the double elimination), both riders shall be scored equal position. In this case, both riders shall be scored first.
IKA is the sanctioning body of kiteboarding within the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) who sanctions the world title in Freestyle and Slalom to the PKRA. As such, it is the ultimate authority for disputes and both athletes were forced to accept their statement.
With the highly anticipated re-run of the super final set to take place this morning, and ideal conditions looming, the IKA judgment was announced, and emotions were split. “I’m really happy” pronounced Winkowska, “but I’m super emotional as it has been a stressful week and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. In the end, the IKA decided and I think that it was a fair decision.”
Pulido’s response to the decision, however, contrasted that of her opponent stating “this morning when told, I was not happy. I went out to ride anyways and had a really good session. In the end, I ride for myself and it’s just a world title. I’m super-young, only 20 years old, and there’s more years to come.”
Winkowska and Pulido have been each other’s primary opponents the whole year, meeting in the finals at almost every event. Winkowska now looks to finishing the event here in Hainan. “I was happy when we started the single elimination, I was like, yeah, that’s what we do – you know- you start the first heat and the best rider advances and then you go to the next round, that’s what we do, we fight in the water, we show what we can do best, that’s what I signed up for, kiting, and showing your best tricks on the water.”
With both riders sitting in the top four in the single elimination, there is a good probability that the two will meet in the final in Hainan, even if the World Championship has already been determined.
“We couldn’t run the super final, so to be able to meet her (Winkowska) in this final would be pretty cool” admits Pulido. “We’ve both been riding and scoring well in Pingtan so I would really like to fight her in the final in Hainan. It doesn’t matter to the overall result, but winning the last event of the year would give me at least a little satisfaction.”
For more details and full event photo coverage, visit the PKRA website at www.prokitetour.com.