IT WAS A SCORCHER TODAY AT THE INTRIGUING WORLD CUP PRELIMS IN LIUZHOU CHINA
Temperatures exceeded 32C today with a very comfortable light head breeze and clear blue skies. Suntan lotion and Oakley’s were the uniform for all ! After the breathtaking Water Show and Fireworks display last night, the Liuzhou hospitality continued all day for the Riders and Skiers. Excellent food, on-time comfortable transport and first class on-site facilities for all the World Cup team added to the sense of excellence. Congratulations once again to our generous Liuzhou City hosts. The level of Media coverage and Photography coverage was again impressive.
Today was all about getting through to the next round or Finals on Saturday. The 27 Riders were first on the water followed by 22 Jumpers. For the Women Riders, the best really did rise to the top with very few surprises. In Heat 1, Raimi Merritt USA dominated and in Heat 2, Amber Wing AUS actually outperformed Dallas Friday USA. They will be joined in the Saturday Finals by Nicola Butler GBR, Miku Asai JPN and Chen LiLi CHN.
In the Men’s event, the challenge was to get in to the Semi-Finals. Jeff Weatherall NZL and Dan Knott GBR were the first to fall short. Harley Clifford AUS was sensational and got through with Adam Fields USA. Dean Smith AUS and Aaron Rathy CAN were neck and neck in performances but missed out. Rusty Malinoski CAN and Phillip Soven USA absolutely dominated in this very high quality Wakeboard World Cup field. The Saturday Finals with these four will be a thriller as all are capable of taking the top World Cup honors.
For our Jumpers, the water conditions were not easy but the level of competition was as strong as ever. Blue skies and very warm weather created a great summer atmosphere. Distances were lower than at some sites and this is where most of the experienced Jumpers adjusted to the “busy”Liu River water. In the Lady’s event, Iryna Turets BLR was the star today with a distance of 37m. June Fladborg DEN got close with 33.1m. The remaining two Finals places were taken by Natalia Berdnikova BLR and Alex Lauretano USA.
Today finished with the Men’s Jump Semi-Finals. In glorious sunshine, it was again a case of who could cope best with the “busy” river water. As with Golf Courses, Sailing sites and others, the skill in making the adjustments needed dictates the top performances. The big surprise was the failure of Jaret Llewellyn CAN to cope with the water challenge. On the other hand Freddy Krueger USA had no problem in making the adjustment and took top honors. Sebastien DiPasqua SUI returned to form and made it through as did Russia’s National Record Igor Morozov. The British Trio – Tom Asher, Jason Seels and Damien Sharman took the remaining places. It looks like we are set for a great Liuzhou World Cup Jump Finals.
We finished today with a Press Conference with 48 journalits from all over China. Chaired by Des Burke-Kennedy, Freddy Krueger, June Fladborg and Chen LiLi were introduced to the Media and answered questions for 30 minutes – all in a day’s work !