On 11 May 2007, the opening ceremony of the 15th IWSF World Water Ski Racing Championships took place. With the stunning Lake Rotorua in New Zealand as the set, the show was a real spectacle.
A boat from each national along with their respective teams and flag bearers paraded through the town to the stage where Kuno Ritschard, Glen Coles and the rest of the IWSF Racing Council were sat with local dignitaries and two local Maori tribes.
When all 56 competing teams had assembled the Maoris performed their "Powhiri" in which World Champion Todd Haig and Kim Lumley were wrapped in warrior cloaks and fiercely challenged by a spearing wielding warrior. Thankfully Todd did the right things, accepted the Maori challenge by picking up a leaf from the ground and the ceremony completed peacefully with speeches, more Maori dances and songs and the formal introduction of each athlete by their respective Team Captain.
The first of four rounds of racing commences at 10am 12 May. You can find full details at www.skirace.co.nz and www.skirace.net . Podcasts will be published at the end of each race day with details of the day?s event and interviews with skiers as they come off the water.
You can hear part of the Maori performance and an interview with Kim Lumley, Todd Haig and British Team Captain Tony Williams in Podcast 4 which is now available for downloading at www.skirace.net.