We talked to Kiran Badloe from the Netherlands about his thoughts about the upcoming Olympic Games. With less than a month to go to the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, RS:X athletes are starting to arrive and prepare for the years biggest regatta. Kiran has had one of the toughest selection processes ever, having to beat friend and competitor (and double Olympic gold medallist) Dorian van Rijsselberghe over three different world championships, the overall selection coming down to the last leg of the final medal race in Sorrento, AUS in February 2020.
How have your preparations been affected by the COVID delay and how do you think this will influence the Games results for you and for all athletes?
I think all athletes have been affected by Covid and the delay of the Olympic Games. We planned our build up to the Games years in advance and if I’m speaking for myself I was in the middle of that build up when we got the news that the Games were not happening. Also the uncertainty of the Olympics happening a year later is difficult to deal with in other to plan your training sessions and intensities. But I think for us the most difficult thing is that we have new equipment for the games of 2024 and the guys that are going to Tokyo have a year less to prepare for that one. With new equipment this is going to be our biggest challenge.
Do you feel any pressure from home country in following a double Olympic champions footsteps?
I do notice that people have high expectations of me. Although it’s mostly people that don’t know the sailing sport that well. Everyone who is familiar with our sport, knows that anything can happen and that results of the past are no guarantee for the Games. All I can do is prepare as well as I can and deal with all the conditions and situations that we get given during the event. If I deal with it better than the others, I have a chance. But it’s also very possible that they deal with it better than I do.
What training have you done to prepare for Tokyo conditions?
We are not sure yet what conditions to expect in Tokyo during the Games. So I’ve tried to prepare in all the conditions as well as I can. I know that my high wind abilities are quite good, so I have tried to maintain them and also focus on some of the weaker areas of my sailing.
How has the Dutch Sailing Federation reacted to the changes in sport and training and how have they supported you?
My Federation have been a fan of the change in the equipment for 2024. Although we have been dominant in the RS:X in the past, it’s a healthy change for the sport. It attracts more kids to windsurfing and has the possibility to grow the sport into a well known sport world wide.
With regards to COVID our federation has been very supportive to facilitate us to the best of their abilities where some of the logistics became challenging. In Holland it’s impossible to do proper training in the winter and with all the borders being shut we had to improvise and be flexible in order to get the hours in.
Do you think the heat and humidity will be a medal winning influence?
I definitely think humidity will play a big role. Nowadays a big part of our repertoire is physical ability. There are going to be races that the guy that wins is the guy that can pump the most. The heat and humidity play a big factor in your physical state. If you are prepared for it and able to deal with it better than your competitors, you have a physical advantage assuming that we’re all equally as fit.
Who do you think your closest rivals are and in what sailing conditions?
I honestly think everybody is a rival at this point. The level has gone up so much in the last year. All the guys that are consistently in the top 10 have the ability to win races in certain conditions. I think my strongest point is that I’m all round enough to be able to sail in the front group across the whole range.
What is a happy outcome for you from Tokyo?
In order for me to look back at the Games and be happy I must sail “the week of my life”. I want to finish the event knowing I did not make any mistakes along the way. If I still made some mistakes and I managed to win, I’m also a very happy man. But knowing I’ve made mistakes and collected points and because of that not reach a potential place, I would not be too happy with myself. Also, if I’ve done everything right, made no mistakes and I would finish 2nd, I have to accept that somebody is better. It would sting, but over time I would be able to be happy about that result.
Thanks Kiran, the RS:X Class wishes you all the best of luck for Tokyo 2020 and a safe regatta!
Interview and text by RS:X Class
Photos by Osga Photo – Joao Costa Ferreira