Following four days of outstanding performances in near perfect conditions, the eyes of the Waterski world were all on Ukraine this weekend. With Finals in Slalom, Tricks and Jump just concluded, the very best U21 athletes from 22 countries fought hard to capture the coveted titles of world champion in all three disciplines of the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF). Excellent TV and online coverage throughout shared the thrills with a global audience.
All events were pulled by the Ski Nautique 200 boat which already has 25 world records to its credit. Including the Overall, with eight gold medals at stake, four went to the USA, two to Ukraine and one each to Canada and Great Britain.
In Ladies Slalom, ten of the twelve finalists scored on the 11.25m line with four achieving three or more buoys at this length. Only Allie Nicholson (USA) reached the gold medal fourth buoy just ahead of Bailey Austin (USA) and Pernelle Grobet (SUI). Twenty year-old Nicholson also took the 2016 U21 Slalom title at the Malibu Open and at the 2015 Jr US Open. In Men Slalom, hot favourite Robert Pigozzi (DOM) picked up an arm injury when crashing out at 3.5 buoys on the 10.75m line, enough for fourth place. However, nineteen year-old Taylor Garcia (USA) was in a league of his own. On the water since the age of seven, he holds no less than seven USA records in Jump and Overall and is the current Jr US Open Slalom, Jump and Overall champion. With a score here of 1 buoy on the 10.25m line and the only athlete to reach that rope length, he is now the IWWF U21 World Slalom Champion. Close behind were Enzo Vigezzi (FRA) and Brando Caruso (ITA) who took Silver and Bronze.
In Ladies Tricks, all anticipated an enthralling battle between World Record holder Anna Gay (USA) and Neilly Ross (CAN), both Nautique sponsored athletes. In the Preliminaries, Gay scored 10,440 points and Ross 10,350. Unfortunately, her hand pass spoiled it for Neilly Ross who had to settle for 5,360 points. However, Anna Gay, also the holder of the current Open World Tricks Record, took the pressure like a true World Champion. Her score of 9,750 points was enough to make her the IWWF 2017 U21 World Tricks Champion. Silver medallist Natalia Cuglievan (PER) was close with 9,040 points, ahead of the exciting young talent of 16 year-old Paige Rini (CAN) with 7,060 points. In the Men’s Tricks Finals, the enormous Dnipro crowds of spectators at the Sentosa site had very high hopes for their own Danylo Fil’Chenko (UKR). As a three-eventer, he set his sights on taking the Overall title here. A disappointing Slalom score loaded the pressure on him to make the most of his Tricks performance. With the second highest score in the Preliminaries of 9,800 points, just behind Patricio Font of Mexico’s 10,010, a standing ovation from the home fans for his Finals performance of 10,050 was well earned. Ukraine now has an IWWF U21 World Tricks Champion. Canada’s impressive Dorien Llewellyn, also pushing for the Overall title, took Silver with 9,180 points, 30 points ahead of Gianmarco Pajni (ITA).
As sunset neared over Dnipro at this excellent competition site, Jump conditions were good and the Nautique 200 boat was ready at the dock. The hot favourite in the Ladies event was Aliaksandra Danisheuskaya (BLR). She took first place in May at the Nautique Masters in the USA. Her dominating 48.6m distance in the earlier round in Dnipro was impressive. However, with her second place at the same Nautique Masters, it was Canada’s Dominique Allard Grondin who stole the show with a 47.2m winning distance, enough to secure the title of IWWF U21 World Jump Champion. Danisheuskaya took second and Emma Brunel (FRA) third. In the Men’s event, distances exceeding 60m were anticipated all week. However, only two athletes achieved this in the Preliminaries. In the Finals four of the 12 succeeded. With just four athletes remaining on the dock, none had yet reached 60m. Nicholas Lang (USA) changed that with an impressive distance of 61.4m. Joshua Wallent (AUS) lost the handle on his final approach to the Ramp but already had 60.3m secured. Second last into the Sentosa arena was Taylor Garcia (USA) who had earlier taken the IWWF U21 World Slalom title. With a distance of 63.3m, the cheering crowds knew that with only Jack Critchley (GBR) on the dock, Garcia might just have secured his second title here. As the holder of GBR Jump Records at U14, U17 and U21, this was going to be a perfect closing moment. Jump number one was 61.0m – not enough. Jump number two was 63.8m – still not enough. However, with a perfect set up when it mattered most, young Jack Critchley then landed a distance of 67.4m to become the 2017 IWWF U21 World Jump Champion. Taylor Garcia and Nicholas Lang took Silver and Bronze.
OVERALL MEDALISTS :
Gold – Danylo Fil’Chenko (UKR) & Anna Gay (USA)
Silver – Dorien Llewellyn (CAN) & Aliaksandra Danisheuskaya (BLR)
Bronze – Tanguy Dailland (FRA) & Valentina Gonzalez (CHI)
OVERALL TEAM AWARDS
ALL RESULTS & SCORES :
OFFICIAL EVENT FACEBOOK PAGE:
IWWF FACEBOOK PAGE:
About the IWWF: The International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) is the world governing body for towed watersports and has 91 affiliated Federations world-wide. It was founded in 1946 in Geneva, Switzerland. It is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the sole authority for Waterski and Wakeboard. The IWWF is an affiliate member of the Association of IOC Recognized International Sports Federation (ARISF). The IWWF’s sports disciplines include, amongst others, Tournament Waterskiing (slalom, tricks & jump), Wakeboard, Cable Wakeboard, Cable Waterskiing, Disabled Waterskiing, Show Skiing, Ski Racing and Barefoot Waterskiing