Olympic Games: kite foiler Justina Kitchen hopes for a third chance in her quest to reach Paris 2024


Kitchen’s usual routine sees her having to balance competition with motherhood.

“I get up, organize the kids, pack school lunches, pack schoolbags, pack my own bag, pack my own lunch — hopefully,” she told Newshub.

Then it’s off to the beach, to prepare for Paris.

“I didn’t think I would be taken seriously. I showed up at Yachting New Zealand with a two-year-old and a three-year-old, and said ‘I want to do an Olympic campaign’.”

Kitchen thought his dream was over, with three shoulder reconstructions before the age of 20 and then missing out on London 2012 in the windsurfing category, before the sport was scrapped for Rio 2016.

“It became kitesurfing, so I thought I’d get into it and I learned how to kite.

“Then later in the year they came back to windsurfing, so after that I was like, ‘no, I’ve had enough of this’.”

Who could blame her. After settling down and starting a family, Kitchen took up kite-foiling for fun.

“I started doing really well in New Zealand and then it was announced as an Olympic sport. I thought, ‘well, I’m going to try the world championships’.

“I got 10th and so I was, like, ‘wow’.”

Kite-foiling is not a sport for the faint-hearted, reaching speeds of up to 80km/h, and they hope to reach those speeds in Marseille in two years.

In a perfect world, Kitchen would come home with a memory, just like his father and Olympic sailing gold medalist Rex Sellers did in 1984.

“She’s totally determined to go home with a medal and a gold, if possible,” coach Matt Thomas told Newshub. “She has a very good chance.”

This will be his last chance for Olympic glory.

“It might be a bit scary to think this is my last chance to do it, but I find it really exciting to be able to try and still be the best in the world at something.”

Gold would be the ultimate goal of a journey that has not been easy.


Comments are closed.