With Chinese National Day celebrations generating an extraordinary US$ 84 Billion in tourism revenues this week, this was a perfect background for the 47th World Cup Stop of the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF).
The first class Shanghai BiHai Jinsha Water Park was again the venue for this international Cable driven Wakeboard and Jump event which attracted athletes from 29 countries. Many saw this as a prime example of what the event could bring to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games if selected later by the IOC Programme Committee.
Few could have anticipated the performances achieved by the athletes in both Jump and Wakeboard. With a constant headwind for the Jump event, using the Rixen Cable system, the first shock came in the Preliminary Round when Irina Turets (BLR) landed a distance of 51.1m – an new World Cup and site record. Turets is a past World Champion and World Record holder. In the following Men’s Jump event, Nikita Papakul – again from Belarus, landed a distance of 65.6m for another World Cup and site Record. He is also the current World Jump Record holder.
As the Jump Finals approached, that warm northerly head wind was still perfect. The winners scores are calculated by combining the best top scores of each Round. This time, Julia Meier-Gromyko (BLR), the most experienced and most successful of all women in the sport, pushed Irina Turets to the absolute limit. With her lifetime dream of reaching the 50m mark, she got so close with 49.6m. On her first jump, Turets responded with 49.8m to take the title but went on to land 50.6m to prove the point. Slovakia’s Veronika Cseploova took third place with 42.9m. The Men’s Jump event was equally thrilling. Artsiom Marozau (BLR) set the scene with a massive jump of 64.9m. to achieve a combined total 121.6m. Past World Record holder Alexander Vasko (SVK) kept the pressure on with a distance of 60.9m and combined total of 125.6m. As Nikita Papakul left the dock with a huge ovation from the fans, he again stunned all with a distance of 64.9m to give him a gold medal total of 130.5m. This was certainly one of the greatest weeks of all time for Cable Jump.
In Wakeboard, again the standard was one of the highest ever seen. Defending Shanghai World Cup champions Dominik Guhrs (GER) and Julia Rick (GER) were here to defend those coveted titles. As the clouds passed by and the sun reappeared, from the very start, Julia Rick was in a league of her own with massive scores in the Qualifications. Others who impressed were Vanessa Weinhauer (GER) who picked up a bruised knee in the Finals, Sanne Meijer (NED) fully recovered from shoulder surgery, and Julia Christiansen (ESP) the first female athlete from Spain to participate in a World Cup Stop. However, Julia Rick is almost unbeatable at this stage. Her Raley with a 360 / 313 was the stuff of gold medals. Silver went to Sanne Meier and Bronze to Claudia Pagnini (ITA) for consistency throughout.
The Men’s Wakeboard event saw five qualification groups followed by three LCQ events leading to two Semi Final knockout bouts. What struck most spectators was the standard of almost every Rider on the water and how this has risen so dramatically over recent years. The worldwide growth of Cable Parks is certainly making its mark. Outstanding performances came from Sam de Haan (NED), Guy Firer (ISR), Guenther Oca (USA), San Im (KOR), and Dominik Guhrs (GER). However, Lior Sofer (ISR) Ariano Blanik (GER) and Angelo Luise Linao (PHI) battled for survival in the early stages. Again, the best rose to the top in the end. After a difficult start in the early stages, Lior Sofer’s Raley 720 / 317 brought a roar of approval from the dockside as he took the title of IWWF World Cup Stop Shanghai Wakeboard Champion – followed by Ben Zilberman (ISR) and Dominik Guhrs (GER).
Sanctioned by the Chinese Water Ski Association and organised by the Shanghai BiHai Sands Investment Development Co Ltd and the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation, the scores and details are available here :
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.