02Jan08 Preliminary Rounds Produce Exciting Start To U21 World Championships

Karina Nowlan (AUS) set a new tournament record of 3@10.75

Today was a day for Slalom and Tricks plus hot sunshine and perfect water at the Miranda Waterski School in Santiago, Chile. Series 3 Men Slalom came first. The best score in this group was 5 buoys on the 12m line / 35 off from Brazilian Caio Simioni. Then we switched to Ladies Slalom Series 2 and 1. The 19 year old Michale Briant (AUS) held the lead till the 16 year old Peruvian, Delfina Cuglievan, added a half buoy to that. However, with 12 athletes in Series 1 yet to come, their chances of a Finals place did not appear great. In Series one, Karina Nowlan (AUS) was just sensational. Her score of 3 buoys on the 10.75m / 39 off line behind the 375hp Nautique boat, added a full six buoys to the U21 Championships Slalom Record set in 2003 by Regina Jaquess (USA). Even the new World Slalom Champion Nicole Arthur (GBR) could not get beyond 2 buoys on the 11.25m line / 38 off. You will see the full results here on this site but the great news was that the two youngest competitors, Briant and Cuglievan, succeeded in joining the super stars Arthur and Nowlan in the Finals on Saturday.

The day finished with Mens Tricks, Series 3,2 and 1. This was full of surprises and some extraordinary achievements. Of the 15 Series 1 athletes 9 took Finals places. Yesterday, Felipe Miranda burst an eardrum in Practice and it was a serious injury. Today, half covered in Duck Tape, somehow he scored 8700 points to make the Finals. He deserved it. Again, youth dominated. Adam Pickos (USA) at just 16 years of age, out performed all other U21 competitors with a score of 9400 points. It will be fascinating to see how he copes with being last off the dock in the Saturday Finals. With the great Cory Pickos as his father coach, he must have a great chance to take the U21 World title. Watch this space.

The Official Opening Ceremony takes place tomorrow morning at the Lake.