The 2004 Waterski and Wakeboard World Cup has so far successfully completed Stops in Paris, Moscow / Dubna, London, Shanghai / Changshu, – and now Singapore. Only Doha in Qatar remains in early December. This HSBC Wakeboard Singapore Stop was historic. In bringing Wakeboard and Waterskiing to high population downtown venues, the International Waterski Federation has attracted very large audiences throughout the year. Singapore went one step further.
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore’s current Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, surprised many by granting permission to the Singapore Waterski and Wakeboard Federation to use the downtown fresh water Bedok Reservoir for this major international event. No such permission has ever been granted to any organisation before. This was made possible by the fact that the Official Towboat provider, MasterCraft, developed a sealed engine boat which satisfied even the requirements of the ultra strict Californian Environmental Authorities – avoiding any pollution possibility. It is now likely that other Reservoirs will be opened to other water sports for the enjoyment of Singaporeans due to the success of this HSBC Wakeboard World Cup.
With significant support from the Singapore Sports Council and the Public Utilities Board, this venue was prepared to a very high standard. Over 12,000 spectators packed the landscaped graded Reservoir banks in 31C temperatures and with perfect water conditions. MediaCorp produced a TV Special for Channel 5. Competing at the downtown Bedok Reservoir were both the new Womens World Wakeboard Champion, Robi Rendo (ARG) and the new Mens World Wakeboard Champion, Phillip Soven ( USA). Both were crowned in Seville, Spain in October. All wanted their share of the day’s US$50,000 cash prize fund.
For the Men, they had to battle through both Heats and Preliminary Rounds, reducing the opening field of 23 international Riders down to 8 Finalists. The 10 top ranked Women had an easier route in their path from the Heats directly to the 6 available Finals Places.
Half of the Womens Finalists hailed from the USA – the others came from Argentina, China and Great Britain. With World Champion Robi Rendo (ARG) second off the dock, all expected a high score from her to pile the pressure on the remaining Riders.
The 2001 World Wakeboard Champion, Cathy Williams (USA), was first off and clocked up a superb score of 51.75. World Champion Robi Rendo (ARG) came next. However, this was not her day and Williams held on to the lead. Similarly, Britain’s Louise Moore could not break William’s grip on the lead. Melissa Marquardt (USA) then put in a stunning performance with a score of 64.14 – with just two Riders left. Megan McNeill (USA) was overtaken by the big occasion having to settle with just 42.56 points. Last off the dock was the 16 year old Chinese Rider from Sichuan, Chen LiLi . Few had seen her as a title contender. How wrong they were. A standing ovation from the 12,000 Singapore spectators hailed the first major international title ever for a Chinese Wakeboarder. Landing seven high scoring tricks – two more than Melissa Marquardt, Asian Champion Chen LiLi accepted her award from Wendy Lim, HSBC’s Head of Marketing.
Next came the Mens Finals. Arriving in time to enjoy the spectacle was Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Envoronment and Water Resources. As in the Womens Finals, the first Rider off the dock, Mike Ennen (USA), set a blistering score of 62.81. First to break that score was Australia’s Brett Eisenhauer with 71.34. Daniel Watkins (AUS), winner of the earlier Paris/Enghien World Cup Stop, now scored a massive 88.4 points – with all the appearance of a winner. However, the newly crowned World Champion, Phillip Soven (USA) was yet to come. From the moment he left the dock, the enthusiastic Singaporeans knew this was to be a special performance. True to form, the 15 year old World Champion got a standing ovation with his lead score of 89.33 As Dean Smith (AUS) was unable to better this, Soven smiled from ear to ear as he accepted the winner’s prize of US$ 15,000 from Dr Ibrahim. The Minister’s decision to open the Bedok Reservoir for this HSBC Wakeboard World Cup Singapore Stop proved to be a resounding success. Singapore’s example may well urge other Cities around the World to rethink how best to use these facilities for suitable events.
1. Chen LiLi (China)
2. Melissa Marquardt ( USA)
3. Cathy Williams (USA)
4. Robi Rendo (ARG)
5. Megan McNeill (USA)
1. Phillip Soven (USA)
2. Daniel Watkins (AUS)
3. Dean Smith ( AUS)
4. Brett Eisenhauer (AUS)
5. Morgan Krause (RSA)
WATERSKI AND WAKEBOARD WORLD CUP STOP
December 10/12 – The Corniche, Doha, Qatar
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