When over one million residents of the City of Cali in Colombia turned out to greet the athletes from 101 Countries to the 2013 World Games, it was clear that this would be a very special experience for all involved. Colombia’s Sports Minister Andres Botero Phillipsbourne, a past National Waterski Champion, must also have breathed a sigh of relief to see such a high level of support for the 4,500 competitors involved.
In Waterski and Wakeboard athletes from 31 countries affiliated to the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) competed in Slalom, Tricks, Jump and Wakeboard.
The magnificent Country Club atmosphere at the Waterski and Wakeboard site provided ideal conditions with 28C throughout. Overall, World Record Holders and World Champions again rose to the top in these games but there were some real surprises along the way also.
In Waterski, Slalom was dominated by two very experienced athletes. World Record Holder Regina Jaquess USA was exceptional once again and added this World Games Gold Medal to her extensive collection of victories to date. In the Mens’s event, two-time World Slalom Champion Thomas Degasperi ITA again rose to the occasion in spite of severe competition on the day.
In Tricks it was a similar pattern. Both current World Record Holders took the Gold Medals in style. Clementine Lucine FRA and Aliaksei Zharnasek BLR have had extraordinary careers to date and will next focus on the World Waterski Championships in Santiago, Chile in November to continue their winning achievements.
In Jump, while water conditions were challenging, Regina Jaquess, having already taken the Gold Medal in Slalom, did the almost impossible by now adding the World Games Jump Gold Medal to her collection. As she already holds the World Slalom Record, dominating Jump on this occasion confirms that her busy career as a Pharmacist has not detracted in any way from her outstanding athletic achievements. In the Men’s event, it was a cliff-hanger right to the end with the lead score shifting from athlete to athlete. Damien Sharman GBR has become a very consistent Podium achiever over the years but now he is also a regular Gold Medal earner. This World Games Gold Medal achievement is one he will favor for many years to come.
Next to the Olympic Games, the World Games provides athletes with that same extraordinary experience of sharing the spectacular stage with so many other top athletes from around the World. On this occasion, Colombia and the City of Cali provided a superb experience which our Waterski and Wakeboard athletes will remember for the rest of their lives.