Emma Wilson channelling worlds pain in preparation for Paris

52 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía Mallorca, © Sailing Energy / Princesa Sofía Mallorca
08 April, 2023
52 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía Mallorca, © Sailing Energy / Princesa Sofía Mallorca 08 April, 2023

By Paul Eddison

Emma Wilson’s Olympic dreams hit an inflection point at the World Championships.

The windsurfer, who won bronze in Tokyo three years ago, romped to 15 wins out of 20 races in the iQFOiL class at the Worlds in Lanzarote – an almost unprecedented level of success.

Unfortunately for Wilson, the format of the class means that even with a mammoth lead through the first part of the competition, the make-up of the medals is decided by a single medal race at the end.

For the second Worlds running, Wilson went into that medal race as the top seed, but again missed out on gold.

After bronze in The Hague in 2023, she upgraded to silver this time around, but it was still a bitter pill to swallow after proving herself to be the class of the fleet throughout the competition.

It has become something of a familiar scenario for the Christchurch windsurfer, but while she readily admits that it was tough to take, Wilson believes she has responded in the right way.

She said: “After the Worlds, it was really hard. It was so hard to take and come second and not win after the week I’d had.

“We had a week off and I’ve just been training since. It’s motivated me. It could have gone one way or the other and I’m just really motivated.

“This Worlds was definitely the hardest one. I was done with it, I was so angry. I was just upset, it’s hard because you put everything into it.

“Sponsors help me and you want to give back, you want to try and win something. For the week after, I was upset and sad and every emotion.

“But then, I have a really good coach, Sam (Ross), and we sat down and made a good plan. For me, the goal has always been to try to win Olympic gold so I guess I’ve got one more chance.”

Next up for Wilson is the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma, an event which she won a year ago.

It is the last major competition for Wilson before the Olympics, and with all her training now focused around nailing that medal race, she is keen to get back out there.

She said: “Last year, I won this, which was pretty cool. This year is a bit different because I’m selected, so I just want to learn as much as I can before the Olympics.

“It’s not a peak event, whereas last year it was part of our selection. I like to try and do as well as I can at every event.

“I’m looking forward to racing because that is the best bit.

“With my personality, I am constantly debriefing. Every evening I’m thinking about what happened and why it happened. Maybe there is a thing of not trying too hard during the week. But if you qualify first, it makes your life so much easier.

“There is a balance. It’s part of the game, you have to do well all week but the real race is at the end. Getting your head around that. All my training is focused around that and all I can do is keep trying and hopefully it goes my way at some point.”

Wilson has shown that over the long haul, there is no one who can match her speed. This week in Palma will give her one last chance to prove she can nail that medal race as well.

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