WORLD CUP STARS LASHED BY DANGEROUS ICY GOLF BALLS !
Many of our top World Cup Stars are now in Melbourne to compete in this unique 50th anniversary event and prepare for the World Cup challenges ahead in 2010. The 50th Moomba Masters competition was always going to create history – and that is exactly what happened today. In glorious 25C sunny conditions we kicked off at 08.00hrs with a packed Saturday programme. This included Womens and Mens Tricks, Series 2 and 1 Mens Jump, and Round 2 of Womens Slalom. So far, so good.
The Womens Round 1Tricks event included 13 athletes fighting for 8 places in Round 2. The mixture of very young rising stars and the best in the World, created its own special appeal. Ten year old Anna Gay USA, daughter of World Cup Skier Russell Gay USA, got a well deserved round of applause for her 3770 score. Anais Amade FRA and Catherine Humphrey AUS then raised the scores to 6160 and 7030 points. Unfortunately, World Cup Star Clementine Lucine FRA fell early on her second pass and at 3800 points did not make the cut. Her crash out-the-back yesterday has left her with some bruising. Beyond that point, none exceeded the 7000 level – till the World Record holder and World Cup Star Natalia Berdnikova BLR clocked up 8260 points to close this Round. Last to get through was a delighted Jacinta Carroll. No drama so far. For the full scores, go to : : http://www.moombamasters.com.au/results.htm
Next came Open Mens Tricks – and conditions on the Yarra River were still perfect. Thibaut Dailland FRA kicked off with a high score of 7340 points to put some pressure on the following 12 skiers. Fourteen-year-old Josh Briant AUS was third out and his performance was sensational for his age. His score of 9320 equaled his Person Best performance and got a great reception from the large crowd of spectators. In fact, although World Cup skiers Ryan Dodd CAN and Russell Gay USA broke the 8000 point barrier, with just two skiers to go, Josh Briant was still in the lead. His parents Wayne and Zuzie were enjoying every moment. Now all the pressure transferred to the new Overall World Champion and World Cup regular, Javier Julio ARG. It was the youth versus experience scenario ! Javier however proved that his World Title and World Cup successes were well earned and posted a score today of 10,040 to lead the pack to the next Round.
Series 2 Mens Jump kicked off in the continuing sunny conditions and by this time, the crowd was really growing fast as only Moomba fans know. Overall, the distances were a little lower than expected. Many from the Northern Hemisphere have had little practice time due to the unusually cold weather at home – and it showed. The most impressive were Thibaut Dailland FRA with 49.8m, Alexander Pollack AUS with 48.1m and Scott McFadden AUS with 49.2m. Timothy Bradstreet AUS competed in the Junior Under 17 Moomba event earlier this week and took the Overall and Tricks titles. He was last off the dock in this Open event – and brought a roar from the crowd for his outstanding 59.7m score – the best of the day so far. He is certainly one to watch for the future and is more than likely to earn a place on the World Cup circuit in the coming season or two.
Following a lunch break and a Barefoot event, it was time for the Womens Slalom Round 2 part of the afternoon programme. Catherine Humphrey AUS and Jenna Mielzynski CAN had just completed their passes with scores on the 12m line, when the sky suddenly darkened. What followed was extraordinary. In all our 29 World Cup Stops, we have never experienced anything like this. Within minutes, black clouds raced across the Melbourne skyline. It started to rain. Then, with very little warning, ferocious 120km winds also ripped through the site. Spectators and athletes started ran for cover. Before many made it, extraordinary rock hard hailstones the size of golf balls lashed the entire area tearing leaves from the trees, pounding off the roofs of all the structures and hitting the spectators so hard that serious injury was a distinct possibility. In each of the Moomba marquees, the spectators hung from the roofing supports to prevent then from being lifted skywards. Visibility was so bad that nobody ventured away from shelter for about a half hour. Eventually, it eased off to become just heavy rain. The Yarra River was then a fast moving litter and flood drain filled water channel and certainly out of bounds for our Moomba athletes for the remainder of the day.
Although it only lasted less than an hour, this was a hail-storm nobody had ever experienced before. As in time of natural disasters, the shared experience raised the spirits of all involved and the revised Moomba schedule will kick off again tomorrow at 08.00hrs. Our World Cup Stars present have had a solid introduction to this new season !
Our Melbourne Broadband connections have been wiped out by this hailstone lashing so we will get this update to you as soon as we can.