Published on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 19:41
In one of the most fascinating World Waterski Championships in recent years, four Championships records were established and history was made in the Men’s Overall contest. With all eight defending World Champions on site, only two succeeded in actually holding these titles for another two years. The magnificent Lago los Morros site on the outskirts of Santiago Chile created a perfect mix of thrills and heart break in these fascinating International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) World Championships.
In glorious 26C / 79F sunshine all week, with a slight head wind on occasions, the athletes from 32 countries could not have hoped for better. With World Records falling regularly during this year, expectations were high as Slalom began – and we were not disappointed. While the defending World Champions Whitney McClintock (CAN) and Thomas Degasperi (ITA) put in great performances once again, it was Regina Jaquess (USA) and Nate Smith (USA), who established new World Championships Records in securing their new titles of World Champion on this occasion. Jaquess was the first woman ever to achieve a score on the short 10.25m / 41 off Slalom line in a World Championships. Her score of one buoy made history. Nate Smith also set a World Championships Slalom Record of 3.5 buoys on the 10.25m / 41 off line. These two athletes are also the current holders of World Slalom Records. Whitney McClintock (CAN) and Clementine Lucine (FRA) took silver and bronze in the women’s event. Will Asher (GBR) and Fred Winter (GBR) did likewise for the men.
Again in Tricks, the current and new World Record holder Erika Lang (USA), at just 18 years of age, went on to set a new World Championships Tricks Record of 9570 points here in Santiago this weekend. This was just 10 points ahead of Iris Cambray (FRA) who took the silver medal. Clementine Lucine (FRA), the first woman ever to exceed 10,000 points, took the bronze medal. In the Men’s event, Aliaksei Zharnasek from Belarus, the current World Record holder, was one of only two World Champions to retain his title this time around. Twenty four year-old Pierre Ballon (FRA) took the silver medal with the highly experienced Oleg Deviatovski (BLR) securing the bronze. In both the men and women’s events, clearly there is enormous young talent rising to the top. The future of Tricks looks very bright.
As ever, in perfect conditions, the Jump event thrilled once again. With outstanding performances, dramatic crashes, many surprises and lots of emotion, the spectacle of bravery, skill and total commitment had the packed arena totally captivated. To fully appreciate the emotion involved, when Australia’s Jacinta Carroll’s father jumped into the water to hug his daughter for her 56.0m / 184ft winning gold medal performance, this meant a lot more than many might have realised. Jacinta’s long-time coach Ray Stokes was taken by cancer not too long ago, and for many, this emotional moment was also his. Her outstanding performance here set a new Championships Record. Finland’s Jutta Lammi, a past World Games Champion, took second place ahead of the defending World Jump Champion, Natalia Berdnikava (BLR) who is recovering from injury. The Men’s Jump event was just as dramatic. With spectacular crashes from Damien Sharman (GBR) and Scot Ellis (USA) who both survived injury, the defending World Champion, Freddy Krueger (USA), was not only recovering from injury but he also struggled to even qualify for these Finals. The best he could do during the week was 64.6m / 212ft. This put him in the middle of the pack in the Finals running order. His opening jump was extraordinary against this background – 69.0m / 226ft. It proved once again that this is a rare athlete with exceptional talent. Not only did it provoke a standing ovation from the cheering Chilean audience, it totally reflected the character of the man. At this point, with six jumpers still on the dock, the pressure was on. Right through to the final jumper, none could outperform Krueger. The last competitor, Ryan Dodd (CAN), was the one who might do it. His second jump was 68.5m / 225ft, equalling his Preliminary Round score. Could he find another half meter on his final attempt? The cheering audience and waving Canadian flags knew that this was the moment. Dodd’s personal best score of 71.4m suggested that gold was within reach. Unfortunately, his second distance of 68.5m was to be his best on this occasion. Freddy Krueger (USA), World Champion once again, was only the second athlete to successfully defend his title here in Santiago Chile.
Read more: RECORDS TUMBLE AS USA, CANADA AND FRANCE DOMINATE TEAM AWARDS IN THRILLING 2013 WATERSKI WORLD...