Games Lanzarote and the Lanzarote International Regatta, with 36 national teams and 5 continents represented will compete for the lead in the race to Paris 2024.
Marina Rubicón (Lanzarote)-The island of volcanoes is once again the meeting point for Olympic sailing. This year, Marina Rubicón kicks off the race to Paris 2024 with the start of the second edition of the world circuit of the iQFOiL Games Lanzarote 2023 (from 23 to 28 January) and the third edition of the Lanzarote International Regatta 2023 (from 9 to 17 February). “More than 500 sailors, coaches and physical trainers coming from the 5 continents and representing 36 different countries have been training for more than a month in Playa Blanca,” said Rafael Lasso, CEO of Marina Rubicon and organizer of the event, with the collaboration of the Royal Canarian Sailing Federation and Dinghycoach. The events are also sponsored by the Tourism Department of the Cabildo de Lanzarote through the European Sports Destination sports product (managed by SPEL-Turismo Lanzarote), Promotur (Government of the Canary Islands) and the Yaiza Town Hall, among others.
The choice of the island by the sailors year after year shows that Lanzarote and Marina Rubicon have already established themselves as the pre-Olympic winter training base. After just over a month and a half of training regattas, the first official regatta will be the iQFOiL Games Lanzarote, where more than 170 sailors from over 30 countries will compete. “This discipline will debut in Paris 2024 as an Olympic class, so it is the new modality and attracts a lot of interest around the world,” clarified the CEO of Marina Rubicon.
This has been confirmed by the Spanish iQFOiL pre-Olympic team training on the island, highlighting Pilar Lamadrid, who had her first victory in an international competition during the last edition in Lanzarote and who closed 2022 as the current leader of the iQFOiL world ranking. “It will be the first partial to check how the pre-season homework has gone”, announced the Andalusian sailor. Representing Spain, Nicole van der Velden, and Andrea Torres are also pre-registered, while in the men’s Open category are Tomás Vieito, Jorge Aranzueque, Fernando Lamadrid, as well as Nacho Baltasar and Bernat Tomás in U21.
Among Olympic athletes, we will see again Thomas Goyard, current silver medalist in Tokyo, and his brother, Nicolas Goyard, winner of the last edition and one of the great figures of the sport. “The French federation team and the Dutch federation team are the favorites in the men’s category where there are, as of today, 89 entries from all over the world,” Lasso added. In the women’s category, the favorite is Spain’s Pilar Lamadrid, although she will have to compete with the powerful teams from Great Britain, Holland, France, China, and Germany, among which there are already 70 entries.
After the Lanzarote iQFOiL Games, Marina Rubicón will give way to other Olympic classes in the second official event of the international season: the Lanzarote International Regatta will bring the competition from February 9th to 17th for the following classes: Nacra 17 (mixed double class), 470 (mixed double class), 49er (men’s double class), 49er FX (women’s double class) and iQFOiL (men’s and women’s categories).
And the show has just begun, since, due to the quality of its conditions and facilities, Marina Rubicón and Lanzarote have been designated for the next season 2024 as the venue for three world championships and Olympic qualifiers for the 49er, 49er FX, iQFOiL classes (male and female categories). “The Lanzarote International Regatta served as an Olympic qualifier for Tokyo 2020 and will also be for Paris 2024, in fact, 21 medals of the 30 distributed in sailing categories were for teams that train on the island, so we can expect that the medals in Paris will be for sailors who have been forged in our islands,” Lasso stressed.
Lanzarote: training base for Paris 2024
The island of Lanzarote has been serving as a venue for athletes from around the world for almost a decade, but now it has also established itself as a training base for Olympic sailing athletes, especially after the first edition of the Lanzarote International Regatta. “The teams are usually training from October to April on the island, as the international circuit begins, which is why we have promoted the Lanzarote Sailing Center training base with a training schedule for each class,” said the CEO of Marina Rubicon.
Thanks to the joint effort to carry out these events and the investment in sports facilities, practically all the Olympic sailing classes are currently represented, which has turned the island into the pre-Olympic winter training base for elite sailors from all over the world. “The success in the organization of these world competitions is due to the collaboration between public administrations, but also with private entities, sailing federations, sponsors… to whom we must thank for all the support,” Lasso commented.
Likewise, the collaborators of the competition value “very positively” the high level of the island’s business network around the nautical sector since it has infrastructures and marinas highly valued by the sailors themselves. In this sense, the island itself has become a natural gym for athletes, who practice a multitude of sports and outdoor activities for training, which has made Lanzarote the perfect place to live and prepare for the Olympics.
Text & Photo Credits: Lanzarote iQfoil International Games 2023