Cuglievan and Ferguson set high bar on opening day of waterski worlds

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The 2019 IWWF Waterski World Championships is off to a fine start with Peru’s Delfina Cuglievan and Australia’s Sade Ferguson both stealing the show on the first day at the Water Sport Complex, Putrajaya.

The 28-year-old Cuglievan, the world Under-21 slalom champion in 2011, was fourth out of the dock in the women’s series 4 of slalom.

But she certainly set a very high bar as she blazed to finish with a 2/55/11.25 run.

It is a very impressive run by the Peruvian as she temporarily takes pole position in slalom, with New Zealand’s Toni Atkinson the closest competitor to finish with 3/55/12.

Cuglievan now stands a good chance of placing within the top 12 to make the final although she believes it is far from a done deal, especially 33 more skiers to come in the next three series.

“It is certainly a very good score for me. The condition was perfect with a lot and sun and wind but the organisers have a great job in putting up windbreakers so it’s really good to get out there and ski,” said the Lima native.

“But although it is a good score, I’m not sure if I can make the final. There are many more skiers to come and I have to sit down and see.

“This is a good site to ski well and I’m sure the other girls will step it up as well. It is however nice to set a high bar to start so hopefully it is enough.”

It was also a great start for Australian teenager Sade Ferguson who flew out of the blocks in the women’s series 3 of jump in the afternoon session.

The 16-year-old wiped her own personal best of 44.8m with a 46.5m effort to win take the series ahead of Ukraine’s Stanislava Prosvetova who had 42.1m and Malaysian hope Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah who finished with 37.2m.

The Aussie who is the world junior champion in jump, will now wait patiently to see if her effort is enough to place in the top 12 for the final.

Aaliyah, who just fell short of her personal best of 38.9m, was however pleased with a decent start to the world meet.

“It’s a bit off my personal best but that’s ok because I don’t always train on this site. I had to adapt to a lot of technical changes and I’m pleased that I still managed to go over the ramp in all three tries,” said Aaliyah.

However, it wasn’t the best outing for world meet debutants Nadiah Nasir and Aaliyah’s brothers – Aiden and Adam Yoong Hanifah.

Nadiah only managed a ninth place finish in series 4 of slalom with a 1.5/55/18.25 effort.

Nerves got the better of both Aiden and Adam as they fell during their tricks passes to finish with 2,840 and 3,320 points respectively.

It is quite a long way off their personal bests with Aiden having notched 5,680 earlier this year while Adam’s best was 4,750.

“It’s not our best performance. I was pretty nervous so I fell off early in the first pass even though my second pass was good,” said 13-year-old Aiden.

Added 11-year-old Adam, “I started off pretty nice but I was rushing my tricks since I was nervous and I just lost my balance.”

Both boys however are still down to compete in slalom and tricks on Wednesday.

The world meet is hosted and supported by the Putrajaya Corporation, the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Nautique Boats USA.

Admission is free for all spectators with the preliminary rounds to start from Aug 13-16. The finals will be held on the Aug 17-18 weekend.

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