We left Emma Plasschaert at the top of her form last December in Oman, where she won for a second time the ILCA6 Women Laser World title. Four months later, the SSL Belgium n°1 is back in training in Mallorca to prepare Trofeo Princess Sofia (4-9 April). It will be the first event of the year for a large majority of Olympic sailors. One week to the start, Emma will have to first recover from a cold she caught on the water. « Usually Palma is a warm place, but last week conditions were pretty cold! Trofeo Princess Sofia’s fleet is usually quite big (around 100) and I am looking forward to start this first event of a new cycle », she tells StarSailors.com.
To win her place in the Belgian Olympic team for Paris 2024, her first objective, Emma Plasschaert has not changed the way she trains. Former Marit Bouwmeester‘s coach, New Zealand’s Mark Littlejohn keeps his functions as Emma’s coach. The World Champ has also adopted innovative technical physical tools to muscle up her body training. « The objective is to stay 100% focused on performance, » she adds.
Expectations are rightly running high for Emma Plasschaert, and if some might think having a World title could be a burden to carry, she feels the opposite. « This title takes pressure off me actually because that’s the second time, and it shows I can have consistent results through time. »
Olympic champion Anne-Marie Rindom will not be in Palma, nor will be Marit Bouwmeester, but other competitors will. That includes Agata Barwinska (SSL Poland n°2), Maxim Jonker (SSL Netherlands n°8) and Vasileia Karachaliou (SSL Greece n°1). Emma has also an eye on new talents who will emerge from the post-Olympic. « When I was a young Sailor, the period straight after the Games was a good time to start a new cycle. I feel like we will see a lot of new sailors coming into the game. »
Later in May (19-22), Emma Plasschaert will race SSL Gold Cup Qualifying Series in Switzerland with SSL Team Belgium against SSL Team Estonia, SSL Team Serbia and SSL Team Ireland. « It is such an amazing event because we will have sailors from big boats as well as small boats onboard. We will learn a lot from each other. I think I will bring my experience on some of the tactics I use in Laser. »