The Nissan Outdoor Games by Columbia 2007 Conclude Triumphantly
Yesterday, under the leadership of the Falquet brothers, team ‘EPHEMERE’ won the Golden Eiger film competition prize. Dom Daher, the photographer on the same team, was awarded the photographic prize.
On Saturday morning, the waters of the WeissLuchineRiver bore witness to a multitude of kayakers launching themselves into the ‘Extreme Slalom’ competition. Thirty-three competitors set out over the 300m course made up of 7 gates, of which 5 were down-stream and 2 up-stream. The first obstacle to negotiate on the course was an impressive 5-metre waterfall. The rainfall at the start of the week, which hindered certain athletes in the film competition, made for ideal conditions for the kayakers this time around.
Under the gaze of the large viewing public, the stage was set to immortalise the event in the best possible way. With the first leg tightly fought, only the best 12 were qualified to take part in the second leg. Germany’s Thilo Schmitt managed to impose himself in 1 minute, 6 seconds and 46 hundreds, ahead of the Czech Lasko Honza (1’08’’22) and Italy’s Michelle Ramazza (1’10’’00).
The following morning, the boater cross took place on the same stretch of river. The four competitors launched themselves from a ramp off a bridge straddling the river, fighting tooth and nail to cross the finish line first. Following immediately afterwards, a team race offered the spectators a thrilling exhibition show. With everyone on the edge of their seats, the last race gathered experts and novices alike in the same team. Once again, Thilo Schmitt took home the combined ‘Extreme slalom’ and ‘Boater cross’ titles.
At the very same time on the Stadthausplatz, the Swiss bouldering championships drew the real aficionados. The titles went to Alexandra Eyer and Cédric Lachat. In the elite category, the Swiss climbers qualified to take part in the IFSC Boulder Master. The Swiss Alexandra Eyer imposed herself in the women’s elite category, as did England’s Parry Gareth in the men’s competition. On Sunday, the Stadthausplatz also welcomed the Swiss bouldering championships for the Junior categories, A, B, Minime, as well as for the mountain-biking jump finals, the ‘MTB Dirt Jump’.
The spectacular Dirt competitions were contested by a handful of young riders who blew away the spectators with their raw talent. Let’s remember that this discipline requires riders to launch themselves from a ramp to jump dirt obstacles in two consecutive attempts. The mountain-biking jump contest ‘Best Trick Contest’ was held on Saturday afternoon. The riders launched themselves off a six-metre ramp to execute various tricks several metres above the ground. The specialist jury selected Germany’s Benny Korthaus as the winner.
The following day, the final of the ‘Dirt Jump’ astonished more than a few people. The incredible performance of Spain’s Andreu Lacondeguy made him the outstanding winner of the day. He threaded together a no-hand back flip, a backwards salto no hands with a 360° tail whip, as well as a 360° rotation of the bike holding only the handlebars.
Under glorious sunshine, the prize giving ceremony brought a close to the weekend’s different sporting competitions. It was a well-deserved ceremony for the athletes who had served up a mind-blowing spectacle for the viewing public. Faithful to the concept of the Games, the trophies and prize money envelopes were delivered to the stage by bike from the dirt ramp. As a final showstopper, a kayak also performed a dirt ramp slide.
The organisers have already done their sums: a 30% increase in spectator numbers took the attendance figure to over 120,000 and the web site registered 98,000 hits over the course of the week. The future prospects for the event have already been announced. The Outdoor Games will remain in Interlaken. They contribute to the recognition of the region in the context of outdoor sports.
“The reason we introduced the dirt jump this year was to keep up to speed with the evolution of these types of outdoor sports. In future, we are likely to introduce an acrobatic parapenting competition, as well as some new kayaking competitions’’ declaredNicolas Hale-Wood, co-founder of the Games. David Carlier, also a co-founder, added ‘Our aim was to position the Nissan Outdoor Games by Columbia as the leading event in the extreme sports arena. Today, we are delighted to be able to announce that this objective has been achieved for Western Europe”.
The 4th edition of the Nissan Outdoor Games by Columbia will take place in Interlaken from the 3rd thru to the 6th of July 2008.
Full results available on http://www.outdoorgames.ch/