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WJ Shanghai

History was made in Shanghai this weekend. For the first time, Cableski was introduced to the highly successful World Cup Series of the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF). While Wakeboard has already featured in this event, this time electric powered cables pulled the Slalom and Jump athletes through the standard homologated courses. However, this really was only the beginning of an extraordinary weekend on the water.

Athletes from fourteen countries took part in this 42nd Stop of the World Cup Series. Organised by the Chinese Water Ski Association and operated by the State Water Sports Development Company, few expected the results to be so spectacular. While the warm 24C / 75F weather was perfect for spectators, windy conditions suggested that it would be challenging for the athletes – at least this is what most expected! Bruno Rixen, the original inventor of the ever-popular Cable Park systems travelled from Germany to enjoy his creation once again.

World records are few and far between in the sport of Cableski. In Men’s Jump, the recent new world record set by Alexander Vasko (SVK) of 64.2m was nine years in the making. The Women’s Slalom world record remained intact for 14 years. In Women’s Jump, super-star Joulia Meier-Gromyko (BLR) has broken that world record an extraordinary ten times since 1992. However, it remained intact for another eight years till August 2012 when Iryna Tourets (BLR) eventually broke through with 48.5m. Such was the background to this Shanghai World Cup Stop.

Both Joulia Meier-Gromyko and Iryna Tourets made it through to the Sunday World Cup Finals. Gromyko has dominated for the best part of 20 years. Tourets gave birth to a baby boy just eleven months ago. However, both saw this event as a golden opportunity to do something very special once again but this time on the World Cup stage. They also knew that IWWF homologator Nigel Talamo had set the courses to world record standard. With the field narrowed down to six athletes, standing side by side, Gromyko was third off the starting dock and Tourets fourth. The young talent of Iryna Dymant also from Belarus had just set the lead score of 41.1m. This is where the fun began. Gromyko’s first distance was 47.6m – just 0.9m short of a world record! She passed on her second attempt. Jump number three brought an instant ovation – 48.9m and a new world record. For Gromyko, her eleventh world record must have been very special. However, this is not where the story ends. Tourets had just seen her own world record improved by 0.4m. In spite of lost training time on the water in the cause of motherhood, she now had something very serious to prove. When the commentator announced the distance of her first jump at exactly 48.9m, equaling Gromyko’s stunning performance, the impossible had actually happened – two world records and the first time this has ever happened in China. This tie resulted in a Run-Off between the two superstars. Iryna Tourets was the eventual victor there. Few who were present will forget this extraordinary World Cup Final.

In Men’s Jump, Nikita Papakul (BLR) managed to outscore the current world record holder Alexander Vasko (SVK) by 0.8m with a distance of 61.6m. Poland’s Krzysztof Bematowicz did well to take the bronze medal with 58.3m. The very experienced Vladimir Ryanzin (RUS), who lead the Preliminary Round, had two lucky escapes in cutting too early to the Jump Ramp and eventually took 5th place. National Jump Records were set by Luca Spinelli (ITA) and Hermana Ade (INA). To the admiration of all, Spinelli also made a special gesture by attaching his own Jump Ski fin to the damaged equipment of Aliaksandr Isayeu (BLR) following his Jump crash. True sportsmanship is alive and well.

In Slalom, while the head wind was a bonus for the Jumpers, it was the opposite for them. Although the resulting scores were low by Cableski standards, the level of competition was outstanding. In the Women’s event, while the podium names were the same as in the recent September World Championships in Germany, the places differed. This time, Jana Wittenbrock (GER) managed to beat both Nadine Schall (AUT) and the current World Champion Bianca Schall (AUT) to take the gold medal. In Men’s Slalom, World Champion and world record holder Simon Herrmann (GER) struggled in the windy conditions. He was not alone. Jump gold medalist Nikita Papakul (BLR) showed the benefit of his current training time at the University of Louisiana, USA, by also taking the Slalom bronze medal here in Shanghai. The tall athlete Nadav Ativ (ISR) used his strength in the challenging wind to power his way to the silver medal. However, it was the popular Marius Schimanski (GER) who was in a league of his own today and the only Skier to shorten the line in the choppy water conditions to take the World Cup Slalom title.

This Cableski World Cup Stop was very unique for many reasons. In the half-century long history of Waterskiing, for the first time two world records were set in China. It was also the first time that Cableski Slalom and Jump were included in the IWWF World Cup Series. The enormous growth of Cable Parks around the world with their low running costs and high return on investment further increases the Olympic ambitions of the IWWF with environment friendly and legacy impact Cable events.

At the Official Closing Ceremony which included a special hour-long stage entertainment for the packed auditorium at the beach-side open air theatre, IWWF President Kuno Ritschard (SUI) congratulated Mr Wu Bao Guo, Director of the Shanghai Fengxian Haiwan Tour Park Administration Committee on making this a very special experience of the highest quality. Discussions on future events have already commenced!

1. Marius Schimanski (GER)
2. Nadav Ativ (ISR)
3. Nikita Papakul (BLR)

1. Jana Wittenbrock (GER)
2. Nadine Schall (AUT)
3. Bianca Schall (AUT)

1. Nikita Papukul (BLR)
2. Alexander Vasko (SVK)
3. Krzysztof Bematowicz (POL)

1. Iryna Turets (BLR)
2. Joulia Meier-Gromyko (BLR)
3. Alexandra Gibinska (RUS)



WORLD CUP WEBSITE : WaterskiandWakeboardWorldCup.com
CABLESKI WEBSITE : http://cableski.org
IWWF FACEBOOK : https://www.facebook.com/IWWFED?ref=hl

IWWF CONTACT : Des Burke-Kennedy, Media Chairman, International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation

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