Abu Dhabi: Nic Rapa rounded off a golden day for Australia at the 2019 IWWF World Wakeboard Championships in Abu Dhabi as Alice Virag crowned a brilliant week with her own grand finale on Saturday.
Rapa, who had looked almost unbeatable ever since he took to the water in the UAE capital several days earlier, struck gold with another impeccable performance in the Open Men’s final to become IWWF world champion.
In a scintillating showdown to round off five days of spectacular action involving the sport’s top professional athletes, Japan’s Shota Tezuka took the silver medal with another Aussie, Tony Iacconi, landing the bronze.
Competition was equally intense in the Open Women’s final, and 19-year-old Virag edged Sanne Meijer from the Netherlands into the silver medal spot, with Argentina’s Eugenia De Armas claiming bronze.
“It’s been an absolutely amazing week,” said Rapa. “It’s been almost effortless with my riding. Everything felt absolutely great. It was like everything was just working for me. The competition has been amazing and it’s been an awesome experience here in Abu Dhabi.”
Virag’s success produced joyful celebrations on the Eastern Mangrove Promenade as the 19-year-old was showered with water and hugged by her Italian teammates, including twin sister Chiara who was placed sixth in the Open women’s final.
The first gold medal of the day had gone earlier to New Zealand’s Charlotte Broadbent in the Veteran Women final. Australian Travis Osborne was soon to be seen wearing one of the biggest grins in Abu Dhabi after striking gold in the Over 40 Veteran Men’s event, 12 years after winning the IWWF Masters title for 30-year-olds.
Over 40 Veteran Women: 1 Charlotte Broadbent (NZ), 2. Cathy Williams (USA) 3. Sigrid Bachler (GER).
Over 40 Veteran Men: 1. Travis Osborne (AUS), Dayle Cartwright (USA), 3. Daniel Duquesnoy (FRA).
Over 30 Master Men: 1. Lucas Langlois (FRA), 2. Yann Calvez (FRA), 3. Marcelo Giardi (BRA).
Under 14 Boys: 1. Alex Albin (USA), 2. Riito Shikai (JAP), 3. Stefano James Comollo (ITA).
Junior Women: Mackenzie McCarthy (AUS), 2. Julia Molinari (ITA), 3. Anna Maria Kushkovskaya (RUS).
Junior Men: 1. Sam Brown (AUS), 2. Maxime Roux (FRA), 3. Jamie Huser (SUI).
Open Women: 1. Alice Virag (ITA), 2. Sanne Meijer (NED), 3. Eugenia De Armas (ARG).
Open Men: 1. Nic Rapa (AUS), 2. Shota Tezuka, 3. Tony Iacconi (AUS).