This was the fifth consecutive World Cup Stop in Dubna in Russia and the 22nd in the series launched by the International Water Ski Federation (IWSF) in 2004. The next Stops this season will be in Egypt, Singapore, India, Malaysia and Qatar. MasterCraft will again supply all the competition boats and technical support.
The World’s highest ranked athletes in Slalom, Shortboard and Jump were hosted by the rapidly expanding City of Dubna. Over 30,000 spectators packed the river-side stadium for the thrilling Finals in warm, breezy and sunny conditions. They were welcomed by Mayor Valeri Prokh of Dubna, IWSF President Kuno Ritschard and Alexandre Gornostaev, President of the Russian Waterski Federation.
In the Ladies Slalom event, catching many by surprise, it was the youngest of all on her first visit to Russia who dominated in what was also her very first World Cup Final. Canada’s talented Whitney McClintock scored 4 Buoys on the short 12m Slalom line to beat the highest ranked skiers in the World today. To do this she had to outperform the World Champion Nicole Arthur (GBR), the European Champion Anais Amade (FRA) and the Moomba Masters Champion Emma Sheers (AUS). A new World Cup star was born !
In the Men’s Slalom Final, it was a battle of the best athletes who made it through the Preliminaries from New Zealand, Canada, Great Britain, France and Italy. The hot favorites were the World Champion Thomas Degasperi (ITA), and past World Champion William Asher (GBR). However, it was experience which took the Dubna Stop title this year. The 37 year old past European Slalom Champion, Jodie Fisher (GBR), coped best with the challenging warm gusty wind and celebrated his outstanding victory with champagne on the World Cup Podium.
Shortboard is one of the most popular events in Russia and the packed stadium roared their appreciation for the the winner’s performance.
In the Ladies Finals, experience paid off yet again and the French World and European Shortboard Champion, Clementine Lucine, was in a league of her own with a score of 8360 points. Her quick recovery from shoulder surgery has given her a head start in this 2008 World Cup series. Her closest rival, Natalia Berdnikova (BLR), was 500 points behind.
It was the legendary Canadian, Jaret Llewellyn, with 11 World Records already to his credit, who rose best to the challenge in the Men’s Finals with a very impressive score of 10,940 points. At 38 years of age, few athletes in such a demanding sport have survived at the top for so long. With second and third places taken by Belarus athletes, Oleg Deviatovski and Herman Beliakou, that country looks set for major success in future World Cup Stops.
The Jump Finals kicked off in front of a standing-room-only packed stadium. With four Ladies Finalists, any one could have won on the day. Hot favorite June Fladborg (DEN) has had an outstanding run of success this year having already taken both the US Masters and Moomba Masters titles. She was also up against the current World Jump Champion Ageliki Andriopoulou in this Final. However, today Belarus greatly impressed once again. The 24 year old Natalia Berdnikova was unbeatable with a distance of 49.2m – just 1m ahead of Andriopoulou.
As this is the fifth consecutive World Cup Stop in Dubna, the audience is now very familiar with the names of the top Men Jumpers who have taken part every year. Although the Finals contained the very best athletes from the USA, France, Canada and Great Britain, once the names Freddy Krueger (USA) and Jaret Llewellyn (CAN) were announced, all 30,000 spectators roared their approval. They were correct. The expected duel was even better than anticipated. With gusty winds and bright sunshine, both Krueger and Llewellyn were forced to call on all their past experience. Llewellyn set a high standard with a soaring distance of 66.5m. The huge crowd roared their approval. Krueger responded with 66.0m and 61.1m. With only one jump remaining, it was all or nothing on the last effort in the closing moments of this outstanding Dubna event. When the last distance of 66.6m was called, every man, woman and child in the stadium responded ! With a winning margin of just 0.1m, this was one of the closest victories in the entire career of World Champion Freddy Krueger.
As the Closing Ceremony came to an end and the dancers and flag bearers cleared the large colorful floating stage on the Volga River, Mayor Valeri Prokh announced that Dubna City would again welcome back the World Cup athletes for the sixth time in 2009. The enthusiastic audience response was no surprise.
1. Whitney McClintock (CAN)
2. Clementine Lucine (FRA)
3. Karina Nowlan (AUS)
1. Jodi Fisher (GBR)
2. Drew Ross (CAN)
3. Jean Baptiste Faisy (FRA)
1. Clementine Lucine (FRA)
2. Natalia Berdnikova (BLR)
3. Whitney McClintock (CAN)
1. Jaret Llewellyn (CAN
2. Oleg Deviatovski (BLR)
3. Herman Beliakou (BLR)
1. Natalia Berdnikova (BLR)
2. Ageliki Andriopouloa (GRE)
3. Marie Vympranietsova (GRE)
1. Freddy Krueger (USA)
2. Jaret Llewellyn (CAN)
3. Ryan Fitts (USA)