Five world records and Team USA makes history in Italy
Outstanding performances at 2013 Disabled Waterski World Championships in Idroscalo
Five pending World Records in Slalom, Tricks and Jump, made these World Championships a very special occasion, highlighting once again the extraordinary achievements of the athletes involved.
Competitors from twelve countries enjoyed perfect water conditions for the sun-drenched Finals of the 2013 Disabled World Waterski Championships In Idroscalo on the outskirts of Milan in northern Italy. Originally constructed in the era of Mussolini as a landing site for amphibious aircraft, the lake facilities for major international events are ideal. The Control Tower, Stadium seating, starting docks and permanent sound system, combined to make these Championships a very special experience for all.
With nine separate Divisions for both men and women involving Slalom, Tricks and Jump, the level of competition in each was at an all time high. Included in the lineup were twelve athletes who returned to defend their 2011 World Champion titles. The United States team was the largest of the twelve countries represented. As the defending Team Champions, they were attempting to be the first ever to win the Team title in three consecutive years.
Chief Judge Mike Wrenn (NZL) and his team of 17 Officials from eight countries ensured that the non-stop action was captured by the national public broadcaster RAI Sport TV at prime time on Sunday. Nine countries in total received Italy’s influential RAI signal.
Perhaps the most spectacular event was Vision Impaired Jump for men and women. Each athlete worked with an experienced guide on the water. Distances of over 16 meters were recorded with the MasterCraft boat providing speeds of up to 54kph. Two athletes in particular were outstanding, Katie Mawby (USA) and Daniele Cassioli (ITA). Both were unbeatable this year.
The most competitive Division was the Seated category for men and women with their coveted Overall World Champion title at stake. In the Women’s event, Jessica Radmilovic (USA), Delphine Le Sausse (FRA), Belinda Sidman (AUS) and Ashley Baerg (CAN) were exceptional in all events. Le Sausse was the defending champion but was under severe pressure throughout from Radmilovic. When the final points were announced, it was Le Sausse who managed to successfully retain her title but by the narrowest of margins. Radmilovic was just 1.43 points short. In the men's section, Pietro De Maria (ITA), Jorge Font (MEX), Scott Wintle (AUS) and Chad Guzman (USA) also greatly impressed in individual Disciplines. However, consistency in Slalom, Tricks and Jump is what matters. When the final scores were eventually released, it was again the defending World Champion, Ireland’s Eamonn Prunty, who successfully retained his title. Eli Hager (USA), at just 15 years of age, was also outstanding and in achieving fifth Overall place is one to watch closely over the coming years.
The five pending World Records were achieved by Claire Ellis (GBR) - Slalom & Jump, Delphine Le Sausse (FRA) - Tricks and Jorge Font (MEX) - Tricks. Ellis set three of the five records in a display of exceptional skill in the Arm/Leg Division.
The highlight of the action packed week was the battle for Team Gold. In 2011, it was USA, Italy and France which took the top places, with Australia in fourth place. Australia’s Jamie McDonald and Darryl Hoyle helped to lift their placing this time from fourth in 2011 to third. McDonald was injured in Jump but, fortunately, recovered in time for the medals presentation. France slipped from third in 2011 to sixth this year with a greatly reduced team. Italy’s stars Pietro De Maria in Slalom and Daniele Cassioli in Tricks helped to deliver the silver medal for their team. The strength of Team USA was truly impressive. Jessica Radmilovic made an enormous contribution in all three events. Bill Furbish and Joe Ray added valuable muscle in Slalom and Furbish again excelled in Tricks. All in all, their depth of talent was enough to create history in becoming the first team ever to win the Overall Team Gold Medal three times in succession.
The Italian Waterski & Wakeboard Federation and ASD Idroscalo Wakepark provided one of the most successful Disabled Waterski World Championships since its inception in 1987. President Michele Dell’Olio paid a special tribute to the Italian Team which performed so well and also to the three athletes who set five pending World Records at the Championships.
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