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Seychelles win team challenge at Mauritius Attitude Challenge |21 July 2022

Seychelles win team challenge at Mauritius Attitude Challenge

From left to right: Pierre Wartelsteiner, Jacquelin Languilla (windsurfers), Neddy Radegonde (kitesurfer) Walter Esther, Eros Barallon (junior windsurfers), Jean-Marc Gardette (windsurfer) and Mathieu Ferrari (kitesurfer) {Photo: Louis Toussaint}

The Seychelles Yachting Association has commended the five local windsurfers and two kitesurfers who took part in the Mauritius Attitude Challenge for their very good performance, which also saw the country’s windsurfing team winning the number one spot at the competition.

The seven-member delegation returned to Seychelles yesterday afternoon after competing in the international competition in Mauritius from July 9-17 and were met at the Seychelles International Airport by the association’s chairman Michel Bristol and its vice-chairperson, Lucy Athanasius.

Seychelles did well in the windsurfing race, with Jean-Marc Gardette coming in second behind United Kingdom’s Kevin Greenslade, while the other Seychellois, Jacquelin Languilla, came in third position.

Speaking to the local media, Gardette said although they experienced rough weather condition, he was extremely satisfied with his results and that of the team.

“The weather condition made it really tough. We experienced 20 knots of wind since we arrived there but fortunately we could catch up with our Mauritian opponents and for the first time we could beat the top two Mauritian athletes, Julien Maurel and Fabrice Leclezio,” said Gardette.

For his part, Jacquelin Languilla said it was a tough competition but they were determined to win it.

“I believe we lack more international competitors but those who were there were really strong athletes and their level is really high, so we showed them that we were also a force in that sport. Now we will see what they can do next month in the Mahé-Praslin race,” said Languilla.

The other windsurfer in the senior category was Pierre Eric Wartelsteiner who came in sixth position.

The team also came first, ahead of Mauritius who had dominated the race in previous competitions.

Gardette said Seychelles has been fighting for this title for years now.

“We have been fighting for this title for seven years and now we have been able to finally bring it home, so it is a huge accomplishment and we are very happy. We are even thrilled that the young surfers competing for the first time in the junior category could still compete in all of their races despite the 20 knots wind,” said Gardette.

The two junior athletes are 18-year-old Walter Esther and 16-year-old Eros Barallon who came in second and third respectively.

Esther was happy with his performance. “I think it was good seeing that it was my first time and I have gained some experience. I will now train harder for next year,” he said.

For his part, Barallon saw this competition as a way to gain experience and he was also happy to rub shoulders with other top athletes from around the world.

“It is not an easy sport at all and it was a tough challenge. I am happy I came in third in the junior category,” he said.

Seychelles’ two other athletes, namely Mathieu Ferrari and Neddy Radegonde, were competing in the kitesurfing race and they finished second and fourth respectively.

Ferrari has been practicing the sport for the past year and a half.

“The competition was tough and the weather is different from ours, so it made it more difficult. It was also my first competition, so I went there without experience and not knowing what to expect, but I am really happy with my performance,” he said.

Kitesurfing is relatively new in Seychelles and Ferrari is encouraging other youngsters to join the sport, which he said is becoming popular worldwide.

The athletes are now gearing up for next month’s Mahé-Praslin race and Praslin slaloms that will take place from August 20to 27.

The annual Mahé-Praslin race is scheduled for Saturday August 20 followed by a series of slalom races over three days in the bay of Grand Anse Praslin from August 22-26. The prize presentation ceremony will take place on Saturday August 27.

The association’s chairman Michel Bristol said the results are very encouraging and they are expecting more from the athletes at next month’s race. He has commended the athletes for their performance.

“These are the types of results we need to develop these sports in the country and given the fact that they have had this exposure which was also a form of training, we hope that they make us proud again at next month’s race in Seychelles,” said SYA chairman Bristol.

He has also called on other young people to join the sports.

“We do not have many people practicing these two sports and our long-term strategy is to attract more people by promoting them nationally. That is why we have a lot of events planned and we are encouraging people to come down and try it out,” said Mr Bristol.

The Mahé-Praslin crossing will also mark 40 years since the first race took place and the competition is also expected to attract international athletes.


Patsy Canaya







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