WORLD WATERSKI CHAMPIONSHIPS – 2001
DAY 1. TUESDAY Sept 25th
After a very successful World Championships in 1999 in Idroscala, Milan, few expected that we would all be back again in Italy so soon for the bi-annual 2001 World Championships. This time we are at Recetto – a superb man-made three lake site just 75klm southwest of Milan and one hour’s drive south of the towering snow covered Alps. It was overcast all day with a temperature of 20C / 70Fh and we are surrounded by acres of ripe maize and sheltering trees.
We are reminded yet again that Waterskiing is truly a World sport with a World-wide network of well organised Federations – 164 Athletes from 33 Countries are with us this year. The smallest team has one Athlete on site and the largest team has 21 Athletes going for Gold. All the greatest Waterski stars are here – and you can be sure that every Athlete is proud to have made it to the World’s in spite of enormous challenges facing many at these testing times.
Today was full of surprises. Our Chief Judge, Candido Moz (Italy), ensured that the 8.00am official start time on this first day was honoured to the absolute second. We kicked off with Slalom – Men’s Series 7, 6 and 5. Thirty five Slalom Skiers were ready to go. Peter Galba (Slovakia), Francisco Angel (Mexico) and Dennis Van Oye (Netherlands) each got a new Personal Best. Top honours went to Peter Galba (Slovakia) with 5 buoys on the 11.25m / 38 off line. Next was Hiroyuki Kurisawa (Japan) with 2.25 buoys on the 11.25m line and he was followed by Ingus Buks (Latvia) with 2 buoys on the same rope length.
Without delay, we moved on to the first Ladies event – Series 4 Slalom. Fourteen Athletes were ready and waiting. First off was Belgium’s Kate Adriaensen, setting the pace at 6 bouys on the 14m / 28 off line. No drama here – just good Slalom skiing. Virtually all Athletes got within a buoy or two of their Personal Best scores – and Lida Morou (Greece) pushed her’s up to 2 buoys on the 13m / 32 off line. Finally, Natalia Berdnikova (Belarus) tied the lead with Bronislava Machova (Slovakia) with 1 buoy on the 12m / 35 off line, followed by Lida Morou.
Lastly, we moved on to Tricks – Series 4 Men. Now we also see some black clouds approaching from the Alps – and they look angry. Nick Boettcher (Germany) is first out and clocks up 3070 points. We see some lightening and it’s starting to drizzle lightly. Let’s keep going. Eleven other Athletes follow – and only four break the 4000 barrier. The lead spot went to Mexico’s Francisco Angel with 4750 – just 200 points off a personal best. Second slot went to rising star Hiroyuki Kurisawa ( Japan) with 4690 points and third best score was that of Johan Uhlander (Sweden) with 4220 points.
Now it’s really raining Italian cats and dogs and the Alps lightening is splitting the sky. The good news is that day one has been successfully completed and we are off the site at 5.30pm - heading for a big bowl of fresh Pasta in our Hotel. Tomorrow, Wednesday, we kick off at 8.00am with Women’s series 3 Tricks – and the weather forecast is good. This superb site is a great credit to the Italian Waterski Federation – well done to Robbie Zucchi and his experienced team. We have a feast of great Waterskiing ahead.