Saturday began with blue skies, warm sunshine, perfect water conditions, RAI 3 TV Outside Broadcast Units and Satellite Dishes, plus some of the best skiers in the world ready to challenge for the EAME Slalom title. The TV crews were there to shoot three hours of action and to screen the event later at prime-time on Saturday and Sunday evening. RAISPORTSSATELLITE also covered the event and the spectator numbers created a very special atmosphere. It was time for the first group of Finals and Mens Slalom came first. The defending EAME Slalom Champion was the new World Slalom Champion, Thomas Degasperi who just happens to be Italian. For the TV crews, this offered captivating possibilities.
Of the 12 Finalists, 11 scored on either the 10.75m slalom line or shorter. It was a quality field. Julien Beaufils (FRA) scored 4 buoys on the 10.75m line within the first 15 minutes. Degasperi came next. The 210 Provincia di Novara school children present raised the roof as he left the starting dock. Not only did he run the 10.75m pass, he also went on to score 2 buoys on the 10.25m line. His parents were not the only ones to be very impressed. The TV cameras captured it all for the Italian viewers. Ivan Morros (ESP) came next and almost got there with a score of 5.5 buoys on the 10.75m line. Third last off the dock, Fabio Ianni (ITA), cleared the 10.75m line and scored one buoy on the very short 10.25m line. With Degasperi and Ianni taking first and second place and with Morros taking the bronze medal, the day was a great Italian success story.
The Ladies Slalom Finals were just as exciting. The real dilemma after 9 of the 12 Finalists were on the scoreboard was that 5 of them were tied at 2 buoys on the 11.25m line. Marina Mosti (ITA) was the first of the last three athletes and she broke this log jam with a score of 2.5 buoys on this 11.25m rope. Again, it was a real Italian success story. Next came the very talented new World Slalom Champion, Nicole Arthur (GBR). Uncharacteristically , she also fell in to the 2 buoys on the 11.25m line trap. Her earlier passes were as near to perfect as is possible but a tiny lapse of concentration was costly. The last challenger was Anais Amade (FRA). As joint holder of the EAME Slalom Record, this young architect rose to the occasion magnificently with a score of 3.5 buoys on the same 11.25m line. It was Gold for Amade, Silver for Mosti and Bronze for Arthur. Again, it was almost made for Italian TV audiences.
The day finished up with the last rounds of Jump Preliminaries for both the Men and Ladies. Here the British athletes were exceptional. The top Men were Jason Seels (GBR) 65.8m, Thomas Asher (GBR) 65.5m and Damien Sharman (GBR) 65.3m. In the Ladies event, the top three were World Champion Ageliki Andriopoulou (GRE) 51.1m, IWSF second ranked June Fladborg (DEN) 49.4m and Iryna Turets (BLR) 49.2m. The stage is now set for a great Jump Finals on Sunday with 12 athletes chasing podium honours in both the Mens and Ladies events. It all starts at 09.00hrs tomorrow.
As we made our way towards the waiting Hotel coaches, the agricultural associations of the Province of Novara offered a mouth watering tasting experience of local cheeses, wines, juices and breads. This was a perfect ending to a memorable day in the sun at Recetto.