AKITA – An unpredictable week in Akita Japan produced one of the most thrilling Waterski events of the year in the FISU World University Waterski Championships. The anticipated Typhoons never arrived, the mid-week dark clouds were transformed into hot sunny blue skies for the Finals and the most likely winners in most events just did not materialize. Each Finals in Slalom, Tricks and Jump thrilled the spectators as the outcome was always in doubt right to the very end !
The first class Waterski site at Ogata Village in Akita, Japan, is one of the best in the world. Nautique, the official boat provider of the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF), also supplied their boats and full technical support
Men’s Tricks Final. The outstanding Prelims score in the Men’s event was 11,290 points by Joshua Briant AUS. The top four Finals contenders all produced scores of over 8,000 points. For full-time students, this is exceptional. Fourth last off the dock, Dylan Schaffer USA, holder of the USA Collegiate National Trick Record, set the final test at 8,460 points. Rodrigo Chapoy MEX got close with 8,070. Then the top two Overall contenders, Martin Kolman CZE and Joshua Briant AUS entered the arena. Kolman was ahead after Slalom and Briant desperately needed victory here to regain his Overall position. As it turned out, Briant’s extraordinary score of 11,740 was only 90 points short of his Personal Best and 230 points beyond Kolman’s Personal Best. It was a Gold day for Briant, Silver for Kolman and Bronze for Schaffer.The Men’s Tricks Podium
With hot sunshine and blue skies, conditions were excellent for the Jump Finals. The dreaded tail wind had disappeared. The top six Ladies in the Prelims were also the top six in the Finals – all scoring over 40.0m. Boat driver Campbell McCracken NZL congratulated Illana Bischofberger FRA on her new Personal Best score of 38.9m just before Maria Luisa Pajni ITA raised the bar to 42.7m. Taryn Grant CAN had a major crash but recorded a distance of 41.0m. With confidence high following her Tricks victory, Gianna Bonnemann GER then took the lead with 45.5m. Only World Cup Star Lauren Morgan USA could take on this challenge. As the defending FISU Jump Champion, on her very first jump her distance of 46.6m brought an ovation from the crowded banks of Ogata Village lake plus a Gold Medal. Silver went to Bonnemann and Bronze to Pajni.
The Ladies’ Jump Podium
Now it was time for the Men’s Jump Finals. All 12 contestants broke the 50.0m barrier. It was also the climax of the Men’s Overall challenge. The first big shock came with Marek Mlynek SVK – just second off the dock and scoring a big distance of 56.3m. Only one jump in the Prelims was longer than that ! In his Overall battle, Joshua Briant AUS then pushed the lead to 56.9m. This opened the door to the Gold Medal plus the Overall title for Martin Kolman CZE. He need to exceed something over 57m to win both. To the roar of the crowd, on his very last jump, he landed a distance of 59.5m. to take both titles. Briant took Silver and Mlynek took Bronze.
Later the Individual Overall Medals were presented to Martin Kolman CZE and Giannina Bonnemann GER. The Team Overall Awards went to 1. USA, 2. Czech Republic and 3. France.
These 2016 World University Waterski Championships are sanctioned by FISU (Federation Internationale du Sport Universitaire, JUSB (Japan University Sports Board), IWWF (International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation), JWSA (Japan Water Ski Association and JCWF Japan Collegiate Waterski Federation. Thanks were also given to FISU Executive Committee Member, Byong Jin You and Hiroto Takahashi, Mayor of Ogata Village, for their support.
(Source: OC WUC Waterski/IWWF)
You can find the live scores here.