MOSCOW WAKEBOARD DOUBLE HEADER DELIVERS GOLD MEDALS FOR NEW ZEALAND, CANADA AND USA
The 2005 Wakeboard World Championships, plus the Moscow Wakeboard World Cup Stop, delivered yet another major attraction for the 10 million citizens of Moscow. This City already features a staggering 2,599 Gymnasiums, 202 Swimming Pools, 93 Theatres, 89 Cinemas, 36 Stadiums and 17 Concert Halls. The major Wakeboard double bill was almost routine for the experienced Viktor Volokhov, Vice President of the Russian Water Ski Federation, and his team. The main sponsors of the events were the Moscow Government, Moscow Sports Ministry, the Russian Sports Ministry, and MasterCraft who supplied the powerful X Star 8.1 Ltr competition boats.
The 2005 Wakeboard World Championships came first. Previous venues for this major World Wakeboard Council competition were France, South Africa, Brazil, Australia and Spain in 2004. With 195 Riders from 20 Countries, it was a hectic programme in the downtown Krylatskoe Olympic Rowing Arena. The Grand Stand seating capacity was 20,000. The autumn weather included a mixture of cool breezes and some sunshine as the Championships began.
2005 WAKEBOARD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
The defending Open Wakeboard World Champions were Philip Soven (USA) and Robbie Rendo (ARG). At the Boys and Girls levels, the young Estelle Tuaz (FRA) and Robert Soven (USA) showed strong signs of future greatness. Juniors Heather Johnson (USA) and Quentin Delefortrie (BEL) also dominated their divisions. At this point the large crowd of spectators were ready for the Open battle for World Titles. Two of the most experienced Riders, Cathy Williams (USA) and Caroline Jansson (SWE) had real trouble with both the pressure and cool breezes on this occasion. Against the odds, the talented New Zealander, Andrea Fountain, put in the performance of a lifetime to take the title of Wakeboard World Champion. The British Rider Louise Moore was just six points behind and the Bronze position went to Denise DeHaan (NED).
Next came the Open Men’s Finals. Could the young sensation Philip Soven (USA) successfully defend his World Champion title earned in Seville, Spain, in 2004? The line up on the dock was one of the best seen all year. Hot favorite and star of the 2004 World Cup series, Daniel Watkins (AUS), was the first big surprise to fall short. Fellow Australian Brett Eisenhauer also suffered from the pressure. Josh Sanders kept the Australian flag flying with a great Bronze Medal performance. This left the final positions open for Jeff Weatherall (NZL) and the reigning Champion Phillip Soven. On this occasion, experience won out. Weatherall took the title in Australia in 2003 and 2005 was again to be his year. First to congratulate him was the runner-up, Philip Soven. He also celebrated with the USA Team as they took the 2005 World Team title.
WAKEBOARD WORLD CUP – MOSCOW STOP
Sunday morning saw an end to the cool breezes and the arrival of perfect warm weather conditions. To qualify for this Moscow Stop, Riders had to be placed in the top 12 Men and top 6 Women in the World Championships on the previous day. In the recent World Cup Stop in Enghien in Paris, Americans Cathy Williams and Philip Soven dominated. Williams did not make it through however on this occasion. Exhaustion was now a factor. Four days on the water is near the limit ! This was to be a day full of drama.
With Williams out of the Woman’s frame, the best in the Women’s World Championships rose to the top again today. New World Champion, Andrea Fountain (NZL) somehow found enough energy to take the Silver Medal on this occasion. Denise DeHaan, repeated her Bronze medal performance and took the same medal again in this World Cup Stop. The top spot went to the lady who missed the World Championships Podium by just one place. Canada’s Sunni Anne Ball celebrated her first World Cup victory in front of a cheering crowd in glorious sunshine.
In the Men’s Heat 2, Morgan Krause (RSA) demolished his high performance wakeboard. Daniel Watkins (AUS), who on the previous day failed to make the World Championships Podium, handed his Board to the South African. This risked being removed from a chance to regain a Podium position today. That’s sportsmanship at its very best ! This gesture was fully rewarded. Watkins made it all the way through to a final head-to-head battle with Philip Soven (USA). The roar from the crowd said it all. Watkins pulled off a stunning double back roll on the double-up figure of eight MasterCraft boat maneuver. This should have clinched the Moscow World Cup Stop title. Soven however kept his cool. Despite his young years, his talent is exceptional. By delivering one of the most technical runs of the year, he was eventually the one to take home the Moscow World Cup Stop title. With Watkins taking the Silver Medal, New Zealander Jeff Weatherall took the Bronze.
Moscow certainly put a major spotlight on the talents of New Zealand. With New Zealanders Andrea Fountain taking the Open Women’s World Champion title and Jeff Weatherall taking the Open Men’s World Champion title, the flight home will be gold all the way. The first major IWSF Wakeboard event in 2006 will be in Rotorua near Auckland on February 24/26 – perfect timing for these talented Riders.
The next Stop of the 2005 Wakeboard World Cup series, organized by the International Waterski Federation and its World Wakeboard Council, will take place in Singapore on October 22/23 on the waters of the spectacular downtown Bedok Reservoir.
CONTACT : Des Burke-Kennedy, Media Chairman, International Waterski Federation
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