The goal is Olympic gold – Bainbridge


 Connor Bainbridge of Great Britain competes in the Men's Gold Fleet races

Connor Bainbridge will compete in the men’s kiteboarding event in France this summer when the sport makes its Olympic debut [Getty Images]

Weymouth-based kiteboarder Connor Bainbridge is targeting a gold medal in Paris but nearly had his Olympic dream ended in a freak training accident.

“I was doing some training races and I was just pushing a little bit too hard downwind,” he told BBC Radio Solent.

“I came off the board and did a tumble turn with the foil which went straight through my leg.

“My doctor said we were three centimetres away from possibly taking me out of the Olympics. Thankfully, I only missed the World Championships.”

Kiteboarding will make its Olympic debut this summer with the sailing events set to take place on the south coast of France in Marseille.

I love this sport. It’s just incredible,” Bainbridge, 30, added.

“Having it on that world stage for the first time in the Olympics is a showcase. It does look phenomenal and so hopefully it will boost our sport.”

Bainbridge, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, only qualified for the Games in April with a victory at the Last Chance Regatta in Hyeres, France, having previously failed to secure a place at the World and European Championships.

“Looking back now I’ll agree with my coach who said it is only going to be a good thing in the long run, but at the time it was hard,” Bainbridge said.

“We stepped away and re-evaluated everything we were doing in my campaign and did come back stronger which was great, I wouldn’t be where I am now if that hadn’t happened.

“The goal now is clear going into the Olympics: I’m hoping it’s going to be gold. That’s what we’ve been working towards and what we’ve pushed towards for the whole winter.”

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