Kralendijk – Windsurfer Kiran Badloe’s gold medal win at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo earned the 26-year-old champion another special honor this week. On Thursday August 5, the Director of Tourism Corporation Bonaire (TCB), Miles Mercera, personally invited Badloe to visit Bonaire, at the Olympic Festival site in Scheveningen. Badloe, a resident of Bonaire between the ages of seven and ten, first came into contact with windsurfing at Sorobon as a 9-year old boy. He received his first surf lessons there and in 2003, participated in his very first competition at Regatta in Bonaire. Badloe has indicated that he will make the island his future training grounds in preparation for the Paris Olympics in 2024.
In honor of Badloe’s golden achievement, TCB’s Director, Mercera, had nothing but praise for the former resident of Bonaire during Thursday’s ceremony. “We offer you this trip as a token of our great appreciation for you,” said Mercera. “We congratulate you on your gold medal and warmly invite you back to the place where you laid the foundation for your windsurfing career. You are welcome to use our windsurfing facilities for your training sessions and to fully utilize the island’s ideal surf conditions for the sport. We are very proud of your achievements and couldn’t ask for a better ambassador for windsurfing on Bonaire.”
Honored by Bonaire’s invitation, the Olympic champion said “I have very warm memories of Bonaire and the start of my windsurfing career lies there. A training location with constant wind and good weather conditions is literally worth gold, so I would like to use Bonaire as a permanent training location in the future. I also am committed to bring an international, professional windsurfing competition to the island.”
The local surfing community also made themselves known this week with a personal video message for Badloe. Olympic windsurfer Constantino “Patun” Saragoza proudly congratulated the new winner of the windsurfing gold. In an interview, he also shared his own memories of the Olympic Games in Barcelona (’92) and Atlanta (’96) and praised Badloe’s performance in Tokyo. Local windsurf guru Elvis Martinus also recalled Badloe’s very first experiences on a surfboard in a video message. “I started a program to teach children how to windsurf on Sorobon. Kiran was one of the newcomers and still a real beginner. Still, he soon went to Florida with us for a local youth league, so the drive was there from a young age. I’m sure Kiran’s top performance will encourage our local youth to learn or further develop windsurfing. This beautiful bay on Lac is good for gold and produces champions”, said Martinus.
The video messages and interviews with both Saragoza and Martinus can be viewed on the Facebook and YouTube page of TCB, www.facebook.com/TourismCorporationBonaire and www.youtube.com/c/BonaireTourism.
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