MEDEMBLIK – There was a lot of criticism about the organisation at the Olympic sailing venue in Rio last year. In around three year’s time, at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, it will be different. The sailing event will take place at the Enoshima Yacht Harbor, in the coastal city of Fujisawa.
The Japanese sailor, Yuichiro Kitamura, lives in Fujisawa, near the Olympic venue. He has high expectations of the Olympic Games. “It’s a beautiful venue. In the summer, it can be really hot, between 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. There’s also usually enough wind for good racing.”
Dutch head coach of Team Delta Lloyd, Jaap Zielhuis, also the coach of Marit Bouwmeester (Olympic champion in the Laser Radial in Rio), visited the Olympic venue in Japan in October 2016. He’s excited about the venue where the medals will be presented.
“Normally we start the new Olympic period by visiting similar venues to the chosen Olympic Games, however, Rio was a shock. We felt like we had to be based there in order to get a good result. We therefore spent a lot of time in Rio during the lead up to the Games. At the end, our athletes felt like locals; they felt very confident about the place.
“We went to Fujisawa to see what kind of place it was last October. It looks less complicated than Rio, which means you don’t have to spend as much time at the venue. It also doesn’t make much sense to go over in the winter because the summer conditions are totally different in the bay.
“We need to be there in the summer when there’ll be sea breezes of 12 to 16 knots.”
The windsurfers have their World Championship at the Enoshima Yacht Harbor in September. The Dutch specialists will go over in July, and train there in the lead up to the Worlds.
“They will return with a lot of knowledge, so we can see if we need to spend a lot of time over there, or just a couple of weeks, in order to achieve good results.”
The Dutch head coach is enthusiastic about the next Olympic venue for sailing.
“Absolutely! The people are very friendly, the environment is nice, and there will be some beautiful sailing. It’s going to be a great event.”
The sailing venue in Japan is the same as at the 1964 Olympic Games when the Dutch won zero medals in sailing. Zielhuis expects to do better than that.
“Of course! At the last Olympics, we proved that we knew how to perform. We also have a very good generation of sailors and windsurfers. We’re going to do better than in ’64.”
Kitamura hopes he can beat the best sailors in the world during his home Olympics.
“I’m training hard to get a medal at the Olympics in Japan. We will see how that works out in Enoshima. Here in Medemblik it’s sometimes a bit cold. During the 2020 Olympics it will be hot.”