Kitesurfing challenger gives way to Egyptian politics in country arrested by change
Maciej Zimowski has to turn his back on the Guinness Kite Challenge for now, but he's happily confident he'll be back
Al Bawaba, headlining the El Gouna Guinness Kitesurfing Challenge scheduled for late June, was disappointed to hear confirmation that the event promised to take place off the coast of Egypt had been called off by Polish hopeful Maciej Zimowski. 'Mike' hid back his own inevitable disappointment after months of training and hype in the lead up to the summer month when he would have competed for the kitesurfing long-distance best. But he assured fans and the water-sporting faithful that he would not be deterred come rain, shine or even paper-decline next time.
The final obstacle came not from inclement weather, stormy seas or injury but from the ill-timing (as far as ambitious Mike was concerned) of Egypt's iconic first democratically elected President. New Egypt unfortunately could not grant our water-sporting aficianado his necessary army permits to complete his life-time challenge. With that, his well-meaning mission to boost Egypt's tourism by promoting water sports, even during political unrest, was scuppered.
First came the warning last week that things were not where they should be, directly days after the set deadline for the challenge had passed. At this point, Mike was still surfing, riding out the waiting-game by training.
I am still waiting for permission from army, which supposed to be ready on Sunday. If it's good wind I'll go on Monday. I will keep you informed. I know that most of you are crossing your fingers from a long time but to cheer you up, I already have a grey hair...:)
Then came the final crunch decsion in an official statement. Palpably 'gutted', the father of one, senior international kite-instructor signed off, full of good cheer and sporting spirit, to friends, family, sponsors and the Red Sea until red-tape and administrative permits should allow, with the following note (in his own words).
After many trials, few months preparation and big effort, finally I need to officially postpone the action because of politic changes in Egypt. I didn't get permission to go, so I need to respect it. Nowadays army is very careful with this kind of events and nobody wanted to take a responsibility for signing my documents.
But no worries, I won't waist all I've done already. I will beat this record, just another time.
Thank You all for a great support, hope you will be still with me for the next time. I will be always ....Looking for the summer....at work and in life.
Maciej Zimas Zimowski
Watch this space until next year; we hope to see Mike set sail and conquer the waves and the Guinness World record in the long-distance kitesurfing category.
If you have any comments on kitesurfing in Egypt or Mike's cancelled event, please leave them in the space below.