01Oct08 Day 1 at the 2nd World University Championships

Openening Ceremony Poster

Tianjin is located just 120km from Beijing and is the region?s largest port city. This wealthy area is surrounded by Oil and Gas fields, sea salt, gold, manganese, copper, iron, marble and many other valuable resources. The Tianjin site of the 2nd FISU World University Waterski Championships, was constructed as the Vanke Dongli Lake International Water Sports Park for the Waterski World Championships in 2005. Following late night preparations earlier this week, all was ready today for the colorful Opening Ceremony.
The 71 athletes from 17 countries were warmly welcomed by an impressive floral guard of honor created by local school children at the lake just before the Chief Judge, Jeff Smith (USA), gave the green light for the Slalom Preliminary Rounds to begin at 11.00hrs. In sunny 20C / 70Fh conditions with a slight cross breeze, the Women were first on the water. Seven hours of tough competition followed and as the sun sank below the horizon at 18.00hrs, with a run-off for the last of the Men?s Final?s place, the 12 Men and Women Finalists were announced.

Storm Selsor USA and Jill Asher GBR

As always, some drama kept several Skiers in a state of alert ! Rodrigo Miranda (CHI) arrived safely from the USA but his Slalom ski did not. Barbora Kolesarova (SVK) kindly lent her ski to Rodrigo. Barbora made it to the Finals but sadly, Rodrigo did not. Also in Mens Slalom, Sam Haslam (GBR) tied with a score of 4 buoys on the 13m line / 32 off with Daniel Knight (AUS) for the last place to go through. In virtual darkness, Daniel won that duel.

In terms of outstanding performances today, in spite of earlier injuries and pharmacy study commitments, Regina Jaquess (USA) was the only one to score on the 11.25m line / 38 off to take the top place. With a score of 2.5 buoys, she was almost an entire pass ahead of Kate Adriaensen (BEL) - who is also recovering from injury ? with a score of 2 buoys on the 12m line / 35 off. All were delighted to see China?s Qin Xiaohui qualify with a score of 5 buoys on the 13m line / 32 off. The unlucky one was Rebecca Summerill (NZL), who with a score of 1 buoy on the 13m line / 32 off, was just a half buoy short of the score needed to take one of the 12 Finals places.

Jean Baptiste Faisy FRA

For the Men, the best score of the day was that of Jean Baptiste Faisy (FRA) with 1 buoy on the 10.75m line / 39 off. He was the only one to reach this shortening. Cale Burdick (USA) came closest with a score of 5.25 buoys on the 11.25m line / 38 off. Christopher Bellingham (GBR) also made it through in spite of carving up a timing magnet along the way and taking a chunk out of his fin. He is constructing a new one tonight for the Finals. The talented Kevin Melnuk (CAN) was just 0.75 buoys short of taking a Finals place with 3.25 buoys on the 13m line / 32 off.

The Slalom Finals will take place on Friday afternoon.