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GB SKIERS TAKE ON THE WORLD - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Tuesday August 13, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

These two Brits are world champion skiers: water skiers, that is. And they're in action in the World Championships this week. UPDATED






Yes, we know we're a winter sports website but, as we've said before, there are some parallels between skiing on snow and skiing on water and our chief reporter is nuts about both.

Great Britain is a world force in water skiing and has been for decades so it's a real shame that the World Open Waterski Championships taking place in Malaysia will get little coverage in the mainstream media.

Here's our bit towards giving British water skiers the recognition they deserve.

So, back to the two in the picture.

On the right is Joel Poland.

He's just 20 and an exceptional talent in all three events being contested at the Worlds: slalom, tricks and jumping.

Joel PolandJoel Poland in tricks action - photo David Crowder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He's hoping to become the first Briton to take the World overall title - where the scores from all three disciplines count - since the legendary Mike Hazelwood in 1977.

Last month he became the overall champion at the Under-21 World Championships in Canada, winning the individual slalom and jump titles and coming second in tricks.

He also holds the overall under-21 world record.

Joel PolandJoel Poland in jump action - photo David Crowder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Hazelwood, who retired from competitive water skiing in 1988, will be watching closely and will be delighted if a Briton can bring home the overall title for the first time since he achieved it 42 years ago.

"It's been there a long time," he said.

"Joel is skiing really well and just to have the chance of it is fantastic. But it's a wide open tournament so it's for anyone to win it, really."

Freddie Winter & Joel PolandFreddie Winter & Joel Poland in Malaysia - photo Steve Sopp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other skier, on the left of the photo, is slalom specialist Freddie Winter.

At 29 he is the reigning slalom World Champion and US Masters Champion.

Freddie WinterFreddie Winter - photo Spencer Shultz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He is a phenomenal slalom skier whose personal best score is just short of the world record.

He faces some tough competition in defending his title, not least from teammate, Will Asher, a nephew of Mike Hazelwood.

Another slalom specialist, Asher won silver behind Winter at the 2017 Worlds and is a two-time slalom World Champion and five-time US Masters Champion.

The 37-year-old, who now lives in Florida, is on top form and has been stacking up the medals in major competitions in recent months.

Will AsherWill Asher - photo David Crowder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asher is also a keen snow skier, though we're not sure how he finds the time.

The rest of the GB team is:

Rob Hazelwood (20), another nephew of Mike who has just won bronze in tricks at the Europe & Africa Under-21 Championships; Charlotte Wharton (24), a former under-17 World Jump Champion; Jack Critchley (22), a former under-21 World Jump Champion; Eleanor Benjamin (29) and Harry Spavin (21).

"This team have been training their socks off since 2017," said Team Captain Steve Sopp, who is in Malaysia.

"They will give of their best and will be leaving nothing behind on the water ski dock in terms of effort to bring back medals to the UK."

If you've never seen top-class waterskiing, it's well worth a look.

The World Championships are being live-streamed and you can watch the webcast here.

Malaysia World Waterski Champs siteThe venue for the 2019 World Championships - photo David Crowder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Competition takes place from 13th to 18th August in Malaysia (BST +7).

The finals in all events are on Saturday and Sunday.

UPDATE FRIDAY 16TH AUGUST

Four of the British skiers have made it through to the weekend's finals.

Joel Poland is in the tricks and jump finals.

He is also in with a good chance of taking that overall World Open title, currently sitting in fourth with the top five skiers separated by the slimmest of margins.

Poland is joined in the jump final by Jack Critchley.

Freddie Winter and Will Asher are both in the slalom final.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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