Kiteboarder Andy Yates now has the prospect of competing at an Olympic Games in 2016.
Kiteboarder Andy Yates now has the prospect of competing at an Olympic Games in 2016. Warren Lynam

Rio on radar of high achiever

JUST a few days ago, Kawana product and former kiteboarding world champion Andy Yates had few Olympic ambitions.

Now he has one eye on Rio de Janeiro.

The International Sailing Federation confirmed this week kiteboarding would replace windsurfing at the 2016 Games, angering many in the sailing community.

However, just as one door closes, another opens.

And the door has been kicked off its hinges for 21-year-old Yates.

He won the 2010 Professional Kiteboard Riders Association Freestyle World Championship before having last year's campaign cut short by a shoulder injury.

Yates is on the comeback trail from two shoulder reconstructions and hopes to return to the world stage next year.

He said while he had never really given it much thought, it would be a dream come true to represent Australia at the Olympics.

"Obviously the Olympics is the pinnacle of sport," he said.

"By kiting being added, it adds a legitimacy to the sport and will pour more money into it.

"Obviously kiting is a relatively unknown sport, but if this adds some credibility then that's good.

"Whether I'll make it to Rio, time will tell."

Yates completed three rounds of last year's world tour and was placed second before suffering a horrific injury while training at Caloundra in April.

He ripped a muscle from the bone in his shoulder and had to have a screw inserted.

He said he was treating this year as a gap year and moved recently to Townsville, where he is studying medicine at university.

However, he said he still had the flame to compete on the world stage.

"I'm studying medicine and just rehabilitating my shoulder and having a little break," he said.

"I've had two shoulder reconstructions and I'm getting full movement back. I'm nearly where I was.

"I'm gunning for next year."



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