Moscow hosted the 2005 event. With Riders from 22 Nations competing, only the most talented would survive the grueling knock-out rounds. Doha has a history of hosting major international sports events and has invested heavily in its facilities. Qatar’s Aspire – Academy for Sports Excellence – unveiled the world’s largest indoor sports dome in 2006 for the Asian Games.
The vast structure covers an area of 73,000 sq.m. For the Riders participating in these Wakeboard World Championships, it was a week full of drama and surprises with some outstanding performances from both men and women in the seven categories involved. These included Boys, Girls, Masters Junior Women, Junior Women, Open Women and Open Men. In addition, the Team event is decided on the combined scores of a maximum of six athletes.
The MasterCraft boat started the Finals proceedings promptly at 08.00hrs. The Boys and Girls sections showed how fast the standards are rising. Estelle Tuaz (FRA) was out on her own in taking the Girls gold medal and Harley Clifford (AUS) was also a very clear winner in the Boys section.
The Juniors also delivered very impressive performances. Judging by the displays of rising talent, the Open Divisions will be even more competitive in years to come. In the Junior Mens section, Mitchel Langfield (AUS) just pipped Nikita Martianov (RUS) for the gold medal. In the Junior Womens section, Caitlin Blaauw (AUS) dominated but Sian Hurst (IRL) was first off the dock and held the lead almost to the end to take a well deserved silver medal.
The Masters Men contained some great legends from the past. Rodo Vinh Tung (FRA) spent the previous days coaching young rookies with celebrity guest Patrice Martin (FRA) here in Doha and still had enough energy to take the silver medal. He was only just beaten by two points in losing the gold medal to Travis Osbourne (AUS).
Now it was finally time for the Open divisions. Virtually all of the major international stars were present. In glorious sunshine and perfect water conditions at the Diplomatic Club, the enthusiastic spectators were already cheering their favorites on the starting dock. The earlier surprise of the very talented Phillip Soven (USA) not making it out of the last heats added to the level of anticipation. This made the Mens Open division a far less predictable affair. Reigning World Champion Jeff Weatherall (NZL) also failed to make it to the podium this time and so it was now all down to the new challengers. Superstar Andrew Adkison (USA) delivered a thrilling performance to become the new World Champion - followed closely by Dean Smith (USA) and Dan Nott (GBR). The Womens Open Finals were more predictable but equally thrilling. International star Dallas Friday (USA) had an unexpected early fall but absolutely dominated the entire event to take the gold medal. Reigning Champion Andrea Fountain (NZL) never really settled on this occasion and had to accept fourth. Shelby Kantor (USA) took second and Chen LiLi (CHN) continued her run of very consistent scoring by taking third place.
When the Team scores were eventually calculated, the superb performances of the Australian Riders in all divisions were unbeatable. All six of their athletes scored highly to beat the USA by a substantial margin of 105 points where Dallas Friday made all the difference yet again with her contribution. France, with just four team members, did extremely well to take third place. Young Estelle Tuaz played a major part in that victory.
This was the most impressive IWSF Wakeboard World Championships to date. The excellent facilities provided by Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) were greatly appreciated by all. The Diplomatic Club site was perfect in all regards. Aspire created a very positive atmosphere by running free master classes for children at an adjacent site with Patrice Martin and Rodo Vinh Tung throughout the week. They queues of parents were at capacity level all day. Over 250 youngsters took part. MasterCraft ensured that there were no delays throughout in delivering high quality performances for all the Riders from 22 nations. Already, plans for a return to Doha in 2008 are being discussed by Qatar Marine Sports Federation and the IWSF.
For details of all the results, go to www.iwsf.com