24Sep07 Waterski History Made On Final Day Of EAME Championships

Athletes from 20 countries began these 2007 EAME Championships. Today, athletes from 9 countries made it to the Tricks Finals. France and Belarus played a dominant role throughout. In near perfect weather conditions, the Ladies were on the water at 09.00hrs with glorious sunshine and flat calm water. What lay ahead was not anticipated. Two of the youngest competitors set the scene. The second competitor off the dock, Marion Aynaud (FRA), scored a personal best score of 7900 points. Then Maryia Veramchuk (BLR) also scored a personal best of 7480 points. With the more experienced athletes yet to come, the youngsters forced all to raise the level of their game. The last two to enter the Recetto arena were Ageliki Andriopoulou (GRE) and World Champion Clementine Lucine (FRA). Although Andriopoulou is ranked number 6 in the world, here score of 7220 was almost 1000 points below her personal best and also below the two young athletes who set the scene. Lucine, last off the dock, rose to the occasion once again with the highest score of 7940. This now put her into the lead on Overall points. A new order had arrived with Lucine, Aynaud and Veramchuk taking the Tricks awards.

Against the high standards set by the Ladies, it was soon clear that the Men would also excel in these perfect conditions behind the MasterCraft boat. The first to exceed 10,000 points was at the halfway point of the 12 Finalists. Joffrey Malaquin (FRA) set the scene here with 10,240. Teenager Alexandre Poteau (FRA) then pushed his personal best score from 9500 to 10,160. Herman Beliakou (BLR), 18 years of age, raised the temperature even further by pushing his personal best from 10,750 points to 11,190. A well deserved standing ovation followed. As World Champion Nicolas LeForestier (FRA) and his greatest competitor Aliaksei Zhanrasek (BLR) had yet to perform, they were now under severe pressure from this 18 year old. What followed was breath taking. LeForestier, the defending EAME Champion had a point to prove. In peak fitness and highly motivated by his recent World Champion success in Austria, this was an occasion not to be missed for him. Following very close scrutiny by the Judges, his score of 12,200 was just 200 short of a World Record. Another standing ovation. Only Zharnasek could now spoil the party. He too had benefited from a highly successful season. He had altered his Trick run to catch the World Champion. He got close ? very close. His new personal best performance of 11,900 points was only 500 short of a World Record. This was an extraordinary morning for Tricks. If the scores of the winners, LeForestier, Zharnasek and Beliakou are added together, the result of 35,290 has never before been achieved in one competition in the long history of our sport. This was truly a piece of Waterski Tricks history.

Entering the Jump Finals, Marco Riva (ITA) was 74 points ahead of Jason Seels (GBR) in the Mens Overall points with Thomas Asher (GBR) just 18 behind that. Clementine Lucine (FRA) was also 90 points ahead of Elena Thomsen (SUI) in the Ladies Overall battle, with Marina Mosti (ITA) 157 behind the leader.

A light head breeze and hot sunshine kicked off the Jump Finals. The lowest score for the Ladies of 46.1m was from the first competitor. As happens so often, the distances increased with every entrant. Marie Vympranietsova (GRE) was eighth off the dock and at this stage she had raised the barrier to 49.4m. The last three included June Fladborg (DEN) ranked 2 in the World, Ageliki Andriopoulou (GRE) ranked 1 in the World and Simona Ravaioli (ITA) who took eighth place in the 2006 EAME Championships and was in exceptional form this year. Her score here of 49.9m was just 2.0m short of a personal best. The real battle was between Fladborg and Andriopoulou. Fladborg had just taken the World Cup Stop title in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland and her confidence level was high. Andriopoulou does not like to come second ! Jump number two for Fladborg was the highest of the day so far at 51.5m. Andriopoulou responded with 47.9m on jump one. Jump two was 51.4m ? just 0.1m short. Jump three was 49.9m. On this occasion, Fladborg added the EAME Jump title to her recent strong winning form. Lucine took the Overall title ahead of Thomsen and Mosti.

The Mens Jump Finals were also influenced by young rising stars. Germany?s 18 year old Bojan Schipner opened up with 62.4m. He held the lead till entrant number six when Marco Riva (ITA) pushed the lead to 62.8m. Riva also added to his Overall lead position. Igor Morozov (RUS) had an outstanding EAME Championships in breaking his National Record no less than three times and finishing here with 64.3m. The three podium positions in the recent British National Championships were taken by Jason Seels, Thomas Asher and Damien Sharman. These just happened to be the last three on the dock here today. Sharman set the pace in perfect conditions with a big 65.2m. Asher responded with 67.3m and an impressive new personal best performance. Finally, Seels needed a distance of 69m to take the Overall title from Riva. His set of 67.5m, 65.8m and 67.9m was the best of the day. In taking the EAME Jump title in impressive form, the EAME Podium placings were exactly the same as at the recent British National Championships and had a totally British flavour. Marco Riva took the Overall title, ahead of Seels and Asher.

The 2007 EAME Waterski Championships at Recetto in Italy were the most impressive yet staged. In Slalom, Italy were dominant, in Tricks, France were outstanding. In Jump, Britain were powerful. A major positive outcome was the arrival of so many new young stars. Belarus, as in the recent World Championships, showed enormous depth of talent. The future looks very bright indeed