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WORLD CUP SEMI-FINALS BRING HOT SUNSHINE TO PACKED DUBNA WORLD CUP STADIUM IN RUSSIA

Dubna crowds at Semi Finals

Dubna crowds at Semi Finals

For all of today’s World Cup Semi-Finals Results – see www.iwsf.com

It lashed rain all day yesterday during Official Practice here in Dubna Russia. This 27th World Cup Stop and sixth return to Dubna located noth of Moscow produced some worried faces last night. Today was a totally different day ! Hot 29C sunshine, clear blue skies and a thrilling World Cup event brought out the crowds in large numbers and all really enjoyed the great performances in both Shortboard and Jump. Only four Ladies and six Men could make it through to each of tomorrow’s World Cup Dubna Finals.

Jaret Llewellyn CAN and Dubna's Mayor Valery Prokh

Jaret Llewellyn CAN and Dubna's Mayor Valery Prokh

Shortboard / Tricks came first. The Ladies event produced some real surprises. Russia’s Tatiana Churakova set the scene from the very start with a big score of 7420 points – enough for a Finals place. None could beat this till we got to Marion Aynaud FRA, the 2007 World U21 Champion, who clocked up the biggest score of the day with 8,000 points. Hot favorite and World Record holder Clementine Lucine FRA surprised all with a freak bad day at the office and was forced to settle for just 4880 points – missing tomorrow’s Finals. Mandy Nightingale USA and Maria Camilla Linares COL made it through in style.

Russia's Tatiana Churakova

Russia's Tatiana Churakova

Marion Aynaud FRA

Marion Aynaud FRA

The Mens event also had its shocks in store for the cheering sun-drenched spectators ! As expected, the standard was awesome – with the LOWEST Personal Best score of the 12 competitors at 10,290 points. World Record Holder, Nicolas LeForestier FRA, shocked all as he failed to reach the top six with a score of 9140 points. This opened the door wide for Aliaksei Zharnasek BLR. He was unbeatable today with a superb 10,890 points. Jimmy Siemers USA, 2005 World Overall Champion, was very close behind with 10,710. Not surprisingly, 20 year old rising World Cup Star Herman Beliakou BLR, the 2008 World University Champion, came next with 10,210. This was one of the best World Cup Shortboard events for some time. Watch out for tomorrow’s Finals.

Nicolas LeForestier FRA shares thoughts with the Media

Nicolas LeForestier FRA shares thoughts with the Media

Aliaksei Zharnasek BLR leads the way to the Finals

Aliaksei Zharnasek BLR leads the way to the Finals

As the afternoon sun cast a warm glow over the packed Stadium, Jump started with the ladies on the 1.65m Ramp. After a disastrous Shortboard performance, Clementine Lucine FRA showed her champion “bounce back” quality with a distance of 49.4m – and a Finals place for tomorrow. Only Denmark’s June Fladborg could beat this with the top score of 50.1m. She is the hot favorite for the Finals. Marie Vympranietsova GRE has been a real eye-opener over the past two World Cup seasons and shows enormous World Cup medal potential. Her 48.7m was enough to move forward. However, her buddy World Jump Champion, Ageliki Andriopoulou GRE had a real battle to make it through. She was forced to a run-off with Marion Aynaud FRA and just squeaked in.

June Fladborg flies in to the Fianls

June Fladborg flies in to the Fianls

Russian Jumpers Vladimir Ryanzin and Igor Morozov

Russian Jumpers Vladimir Ryanzin and Igor Morozov

Thirteen Men lined up for the closing Jump event of the day. With six Finals places available, it was actually the top six seeds who took all those places for tomorrow’s Finals. By far the best performances came from Jaret Llewellyn CAN / 65.4m, Jason Seels GBR / 66.6m and the unstoppable Freddy Krueger USA with 67.4m. Jimmy Siemers USA and Scott Ellis USA were very unlucky not to make it through. Several glitches with the timing system caused some frustrations but the glorious weather made up for that. This was one of the best Dubna World Cup Semi-Finals of the past six years. Tomorrow will be a scorcher both on and off the water ! Dubna’s Mayor Valery Prokh left the World Cup site tonight with a smile !

Freddy Krueger USA pops 67.4m

Freddy Krueger USA pops 67.4m