WORLD CUP STOP LOADED WITH VERY SPECIAL EXTRAS AND TONS OF GENEROUS HOSPITALITY
This was the 28th Stop of the Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup series of the International Waterski & Wakeboard
Federation (IWWF). It was staged for the first time in this South West Monsoon region of China – a major car manufacturing and tourist area. The pristine clean downtown River Liu was the venue. While over 50,000 spectators attended the World Cup competition, our hosts confirmed that there were an estimated 500,000 people at the
Opening Ceremony ! This level of exposure for our sport is one of the main objectives of the entire Series. Live TV coverage distributed to 800 million viewers was provided by 28 TV Stations on the latest count in the CCTV network. The World Cup’s own TV production team / ProActive, will distribute the edited TV Show and News Edit to another 500 million over the coming week. The TV News Edit was uploaded by Satellite from downtown Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia by Des Burke-Kennedy after a two flight and fast car dash at 1.30am the following morning.
This was no ordinary experience. Few World Cup Stops have ever been provided with such an array of high quality features. There were even two wedding ceremonies on two XStar MasterCrafts – our World Cup boat sponsors ! More
on that later. The site sound-system was as good as its gets, generous food was provided throughout in a riverside restaurant for all involved, TV, Photography and Press coverage was outstanding. Two Press Conferences attracted up to 48 journalists from as far away as Beijing, Watersports Administration of China, the Chinese Waterski Association, Liuzhou Sports Council and Liuzhou Municipal Government, all did an outstanding job – and always in a friendly and helpful manner. The World Cup Prize Podium was easily the best designed to date. The Opening Ceremony with its gigantic Water Fountain display and enormous Fireworks show were enough to take your breath away. Just take a look at the Prize Plaques awarded below – the best we have ever seen. The main sponsors, SGMW motor manufacturers are major players in China’s auto industry. Even the official Nan Jiang Hotel was of high quality with very helpful staff at all times. All of this was a very special experience.
For a first time location, Liuzhou and our generous hosts could not have done more. As the Liu River site is downtown, which gave us access to 500,000 spectators at the Opening Ceremony, backwash from the river sides did
pose a test and all involved will see how to address this in the future. As Freddy Krueger stated at the Press Conference, those Skiers who adapted best, would win on
the day – as the results clearly show. While the jump distances were lower than usual, the level of real competition was as high as ever and both our hosts and audience were thrilled by the experience. We made many new friends and fans for our sport this weekend !
In 32C temperatures and sunny blue skies, the Womens Jump event attracted athletes from five countries. Right from the start, Iryna Turets from Belarus set the pace in the Semi-Finals with a jump distance of 37.0m. Nobody could beat this. On entering the Finals, she actually looked set to take the World Cup Jump title. In the end it was a very close battle between Turets, Denmark’s June Fladborg and Natalia Berdnikova – also from Belarus. This time Berdnikova set the pace with a distance of 36.2m. Fladborg had to settle for 35.6m – and the best Turets could do was 36.0m. Natalia Berdnikova took this World Cup title by a margin of just 0.2m.
In Men’s Jump the two hot favorites were Jaret Llewellyn CAN and World Champion and World Record Holder Freddy Krueger USA. Llewellyn failed to get out of the Semi-Finals leaving the door wide open for Krueger in the Finals. Russia’s Igor Morozov set the pace from the start with a distance of 50.7m. Only Jason Seels GBR could beat this with 51.3m. Krueger was last out, knew what he had to do and got a standing ovation with a distance of 57.5m to take the Liuzhou City World Jump Cup title.
In Womens Wakeboard, the two who impressed most in the Semi-Finals were 16 year old Raimi Merritt USA and Australia’s Amber Wing. Five-time USA National Champion Dallas Friday did not look in form but made it to the Finals. Friday then put in a very impressive performance in the Finals and looked unbeatable with a score of 60.69. However, the USA teenager, Raimi Merritt, again rose to the occasion and took the title with a score of 62.78.
Mens Wakeboard came last. Seventeen Riders in the Quarter Finals were narrowed down to four in the Finals. Australia’s teenager Harley Clifford, completed a 720 degree rotation on the double-up maneuver to score 72.67 points. However, the World Cup 2008 season overall champion Phillip Soven USA had already got 75.44 points on the board and so Soven added yet another victory to his very impressive collection of the past five years.
The next World Cup Stop will be staged in Putrajaya, Malaysia in four weeks time.
JUMP WINNERS – Women
- Natalia Berdnikova (BLR)
- Iryna Turets (BLR)
- June Fladborg (DEN)
JUMP WINNERS – Men
- Freddy Krueger (USA)
- Jason Seels (GBR)
- Igor Morozov (RUS)
WAKEBOARD WINNERS – Women
- Raimi Merritt (USA)
- Dallas Friday (USA)
- Amber Wing (AUS)
WAKEBOARD WINNERS – Men
- Phillip Soven (USA)
- Harley Clifford (AUS)
- Rusty Malinoski (CAN)