World champions hoping for tough conditions in Hong Kong

Defending World Champion Teneale Hatton and her 2013 predecessor, Michele Eray, look set to get their wish of strong winds for Saturday’s ICF Ocean Racing World Championships in Hong Kong.

New Zealand’s Hatton and USA’s Eray both believe strong winds and choppy conditions will give them the advantage over a strong international field for ocean racing’s third World Championships.

The number one ranked paddler coming into the event is France’s Angie Le Roux, a gold medallist at last month’s World Cup in her home country.

Hatton has not been seen on the international racing circuit this year, while Eray has also taken a low-key approach while balancing business and coaching interests.

But the American, who represented South Africa when she won the sport’s first World Championship gold medal in Portugal in 2013, said she’s ready.

“With experience comes confidence,” Eray said.

“Going into events knowing that I’ve done the work is good. I had a plan when it was going to be windy. That’s my forte, that’s obviously where I back myself as a downwind paddler, and the more technical the better.

“The years of experience really adds up.”

Hatton has also been juggling a full-time career as a paramedic with training and adventure paddling.

She’s also had to deal with the disappointment of her controversial non-selection for last year’s Olympics.

She’s hoping to use that experience to motivate her this weekend.

“It is important for me,” Hatton said.

“I still want to prove that I am a good paddling athlete, and obviously I haven’t been given some opportunities which has been disappointing, but then again, there’s this opportunity right here.

“I just have to funnel all my motivation and all my energies into that. I guess I just have to use it on the water.”

The 2017 ICF Ocean Racing World Championships will be held over this weekend, with the women’s race on Satuday and the men on Sunday.

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