Every sport has its heroes. Often, the sporting aspirations of children begin with a simple word of encouragement from one of these heroes. This has been a major side effect of the current Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup series. With 2006 season Stops so far in Qatar, France, China, Russia and Northern Ireland, and Singapore just a few weeks away, a steady flow of young hopefuls around the world has had a dream come true this year.

Under the direction of the International Water Ski Federation, the concept of organizing a series of Waterski and Wakeboard Master Classes for the very young at each World Cup Stop began in France three years ago. Patrice Martin (FRA) and Rodo Vinh-Tung (Tahiti), were the first to come on board as Master Class coaches. Martin has six World Shortboard Records to his credit and Vinh-Tung is a Wakeboard World Games champion. This year, their Master Classes were completely booked out even before the World Cup Stars arrived at Enghiens-les-Bains on the outskirts of Paris. The special coaching sessions ran throughout the weekend programme on the outskirts of Paris at Enghiens-les-Bains.

In Doha in Qatar on the Arabian Gulf, in conjunction with ASPIRE (Academy of Sports Excellence), 160 young children received personal tuition from Waterski and Wakeboard World Champions over the three day programme. Certificates of competence were presented by ASPIRE. Qatar’s US$2.8 billion investment in preparation for the Asian Games in December has helped to greatly increase the focus on youth training programmes and ASPIRE has been totally supportive of the World Cup Master Class project.

At the World Cup Stop in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, professional Waterskiers Scott Ellis (USA), Ryan Green (AUS) and Glen Campbell (GBR), have carried on the tradition. Ellis, a past US National Ski Fly champion, Green, a World Games Overall Champion and Campbell, a three time British Slalom Champion, again donated their time to the Master Class project over the weekend event.

Football has set a great example over the years by involving Pele, Beckham, Ronaldo and many others in youth programmes. The Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup series is now raising the hopes and transforming the ambitions of young children around the world in what can be achieved with encouragement, top level coaching, and most of all, direct contact with the Stars !

Watch out for more Master Classes for our young hopefuls as the Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup series continues.

CONTACT : Des Burke-Kennedy, Media Chairman, International Waterski Federation

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