Saturday’s Final’s day was not what many expected ! In almost every event, the hot favorites did not take the coveted Gold Medal home this year. This created a very exciting event at the first class site at Parc Interdepartmental Des Sports on the outskirts of Paris. Congratulations to all the new Europe Africa Waterski champions !
Manon Costard FRA had already taken the women’s title on Friday with a score of 2.5 buoys on the 10.75m line. For the Men, on seeing scores in the Prelims on the 10.25m line, we know the Finals will be special. They were – but not as anticipated ! In the Prelims, an impressive five skiers scored on the 10.25m line, including Freddy Winter GBR, Adam Sedlmajer CZE, Martin Bartalsky SVK, Daniel Odvarko CZE, Thomas Degasperi ITA and Pietari Ronkko FIN. In the Finals, only two managed to repeat this in what was a fantastic battle for gold. Carlo Alais ITA has been on many international Podiums, including past EA Championships, World Cup and Moomba Masters. With 3 buoys scored on the 10.75m line in the Prelims, he pushed this to 1 buoy on the 10.25m line in the Finals to take the silver medal. However, Daniel Odvarko CZE was the most consistent of the weekend. With 2 buoys at 10.25m in the Prelims and 1.5 buoys at 10.25m in the Finals, this gave him his second EA Slalom victory to date – and the gold Slalom medal.
With so many surprise victories this weekend, this event was more true to form. Clementine Lucine FRA has impressed all with her quick return to form following the arrival of her baby girl seven months ago. She improved her Prelim score of 8040 points to 8330 for the silver medal in the Finals. Natallia Berdnikava BLR took the Moomba Masters title last March and is a past World, US Masters and EA Championships Tricks gold medalist. She again outperformed all in both the Prelims and the Finals with very impressive 9320 and 9090 scores to take the 2015 EA title.
While the Ladies results were more or less as expected, the Men again surprised all. Five athletes exceeded 10,000 points in the Finals. Aliaksei Zharnasek BLR is a legend. His World Record still stands at 12,570. Recent victories include US Masters, Moomba Masters, World Cup and 2014 EA Championships. With 11,420 in the Prelims, the gold looked certain once again. Pierre Ballon FRA took this EA title in 2013 plus the 2014 US Masters title and is certainly a star to watch. However, by a margin of just 20 points, after an absence from major competitions for some time, Olivier Fortamps BEL returned with 10,490 points in the Finals to just pip Aliaksei for the gold medal.
Natallia Berdnikava BLR broke the World Jump Record in 2012 with a distance of 58.6m. Jutta Lammi Menestrina FIN is a past Moomba Masters, World Games and EA U17 Jump champion. Nancy Chardin FRA is a two-time past U21 World Jump champion. All were chasing gold. Jutta topped the Prelims with 52.8m to set the pace. However, while Jutta posted 50.5m in the Finals, it was Marie Vympranietsova GRE who surprised all in snatching the gold medal with 51.5m – and one of her greatest career achievements to date.
For the men, it was a similar scene – loaded with hot favorites. World Cup and 2013 EA Champion Bojan Schipner GER, 2014 EA Champion and Russia National Record holder Igor Morozov RUS and past British, EA U21 and USA Collegiate Champion Thomas Asher GBR, all made it through to the Finals. However, Russia’s Vladimir Ryanzin had a dream come true in Paris. His 61.3m gave him a major victory and again one of the best of his career.
Overall & Team Champions
Congratulations to Overall Champions Natallia Berdnikava BLR and Adam Sedlmajer CZE on their outstanding performances – and also to Team France for taking the coveted Team award on home ground. For all the scores, check out :