MAJOR SURPRISES AT LAST WORLD CUP STOP OF 2008 IN DOHA
The venue for this last Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup Stop of the 2008 season was a man-made saltwater canal at the exclusive Doha Diplomatic Club in Qatar. Clear blue skies and a comfortable 29C air temperature made it perfect for this final World Cup Stop of the season. Doha Qatar in the Arabian Gulf has a skyline which says it all. Breathtaking skyscrapers seem to appear over night – and each tries to outdo the other for grandeur. The nearby Aspire Dome houses 30 sports arenas and is the largest of its kind in the world.
The hectic World Cup global tour of 2008 included Dubna Russia, Hacienda Bay Egypt, Marina Bay Singapore, Putrajaya Malaysia and finally the Diplomatic Club in Doha Qatar. Included at this Stop, the 26th in the series, were Slalom, Tricks and Wakeboard for both men and women. As most of the World Cup overall season places depended on the Doha outcome, this added an extra fascination to the results. The event was sponsored by Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), The Diplomatic Club, MasterCraft and the International Water Ski Federation (IWSF)
In Ladies Slalom, four places were available in the Final. Two of the four were taken by French athletes – Clementine Lucine and Claire Lise Welter. However the best Semi-Final scores came from Danyelle Bennett USA and Ageliki Andriopoulou GRE. Lucine took the previous title in Malaysia last week and so was the hot favorite here in Doha. Although Lucine and Andriopoulou performed very well in the Doha Finals, it was the young rising star Claire Lise Welter who took the Slalom title in a slight tail breeze with a score of I Buoy on the 11.25m line. This was the first World Cup title for Claire Lise Welter.
With six Finalists, the Mens Slalom event was also a thriller. The World Record holder, Chris Parrish USA, had already taken first place last weekend in Putrajaya Malaysia. However, the season leader and two time World Cup season winner, Jodi Fisher GBR, had experience on his side, setting the stage for a great battle. The Final was full of upsets. World Slalom Champion Thomas Degasperi ITA set the pace with a great score of five Buoys on the 11.25m line in a tricky breeze. The star of the Semi-Finals, 20-year-old Jonathon Travers US, was not so fortunate in the Finals with a score of 1.5 buoys on the 12m line. The World Record holder Chris Parrish added two Buoys to Degasperi’s score to try to repeat his earlier Putrajaya Malaysia success. However, it was the giant Kiwi, Aaron Larkin NZL, who took the honors with just one Buoy better than Parrish. That winning score was two Buoys on the very short 10.75m line. Aaron Larkin has had an outstanding year and now adds his first World Cup Slalom title to his impressive victories list.
In Shortboard / Tricks, both the Men and Ladies events were wide open. New young rising stars – 19 year old Marion Aynaud FRA and 20 year old Herman Beliakou BLR – were serious contenders. Also, the World Record holder, Nicolas LeForestier FRA has now recovered from a serious July injury and is back on stage. This set up a great event for the Doha spectators in glorious Gulf sunshine.
In the Ladies Tricks Finals, past World Record holder Mandy Nightingale USA was first on the water. She set a cracking pace with 6870 points. The new World Record holder, Clementine Lucine FRA, fell just a little short with 6490 points. Only Ageliki Andriopoulou could rock the boat at that stage but she too fell short with 6670 points. An elated past World Record holder, Mandy Nightingale USA, succeeded in holding her lead right from the start and took the Doha title in style. This was one of her greatest triumphs of 2008.
In the Mens Shortboard / Tricks event, a dream came true for Jimmy Siemers USA today. It took a score of over 10,200 points to qualify for these Finals ! In a major upset, he beat the best in the World last week at the World Cup Stop in Putrajaya Malaysia. In Doha, neither the World Record holder Nicolas LeForestier FRA or the great talent of Aliaksei Zharnasek BLR could match the American’s score of 11,190 points. Two major World Cup victories back to back at the end of the season is the perfect conclusion to the 2008 World Cup campaign of the reigning US Masters Tricks Champion, Jimmy Siemers.
In Wakeboard, all the World Cup stars were there. Shelby Kantar USA, Raimi Merritt USA, Andrew Adkison USA and young Nick Davies GBR, have all had an outstanding World Cup season. However, two superstars were also in Doha to do what all expected ! Four time X-Games Champion Dallas Friday USA in ProWomen and World and X-Games Champion Phillip Soven USA in ProMen, are almost unbeatable at present. As in Shortboard / Tricks, the new rising World Cup stars got closer and closer over the season. The 15 year old USA sensation, Raimi Merritt, following her 3rd place in the Singapore World Cup Stop, stunned all in Doha by beating the Wakeboard legend, Dallas Friday USA on this occasion to take the Doha World Cup title. Phillip Soven, on the other hand, was in a league of his own yet again. Dean Smith AUS, Andrew Adkison USA and Trevor Hansen USA got a little closer – but still could not catch him. Soven took the Doha World Cup Wakeboard title as expected in impressive style.
The Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup overall season winners will be announced shortly. Details will be available at www.waterskiandwakeboardworldcup.com
Here are the results of the Doha Qatar Stop of the Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup series :
1.Claire Lise Welter FRA
2.Clementine Lucine FRA
1.Aaron Larkin NZL
2.Chris Parrish USA
3.Thomas Degasperi ITA
1.Mandy Nightingale USA
2.Ageliki Andriopoulou GRE
3.Clementine Lucine FRA
1.Jimmy Siemers USA
2.Oleg Deviatovski BLR
3.Nicolas LeForestier FRA
1.Raimi Merritt USA
2.Dallas Friday USA
3.Shelby Kantar USA
1.Phillip Soven USA
2.Dean Smith AUS
3.Andrew Adkison USA