Natalya Berdnikova of Belarus has taken the overall title at the World Waterskiing Championships, which took place just outside Moscow.
The weather and the setting were perfect for the final day of the World Waterskiing Championships.
The sport is yet to make it into the Olympics and the Moscow event was as big as it gets for the competitors, as they all looked to take home the biggest prize in Waterskiing.
First up was the women’s tricks event, where the competitors try to fit in as many moves as quickly as possible to try and get top marks from the judges.
The moves certainly look spectacular, though they take a lot of practice to get right. Though even the best can sometimes lose their rhythm – including one of the favorites – France’s Iris Cambray.
The event was eventually won by Belarus’s Natalya Berdnikova, who was rewarded after her fantastic performance. And it certainly pleased the crowd, who were fully behind her, with no Russians in the final.
Berdnikova started out life as a gymnast before taking up waterskiing almost by mistake, and the Belarusian says her added flexibility certainly gives her an added advantage.
“Gymnastics in general is a very good start for any athlete in any other sport. But in waterskiing, especially, because it’s technical and really requires a lot of thinking and co-ordination. Gymnastics are very helpful in that,” she said.
Berdnikova has been water skiing for 16 years, while she trains in Florida. Nevertheless she gets a lot of funding from her native Belarus, which allows her to put all her efforts into improving, which is a luxury amongst most waterskiers, who are often forced to take up second jobs.
The situation is slowly improving, with more and more sponsors coming on board, however there is still a long way to go.
However, it would prove to be an excellent day for Berdnikova, who would be crowned overall World Champion.
The final event of the day was the men’s jump competition. The world record was an astounding 73 minutes from a platform, of just 1.8 meters tall.
The waterskiers were not able to get near that mark, however, the wonderfully-named Freddy Kruger pulled off the jump of the round to take first place.
All in all it the event was a great success and has proved popular with the participants. However, the only downside being a lack of Russians able to battle it out for the medals.