The second World Cup took us to China on the Wupai River, in the city of Ziyuan. The competition was held from 16 to 21 August. Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Serbia, Hungary, Russia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand with hosts China also taking part in the tournament. We had 11 competitors in the OM and 3 in the OW category.
We arrived the day after the flood that affected the region.The water level of the small rivers grew so much that the first test of the downriver (run by Race Director and Safety Director (Maefredi and Tim)) was so dangerous that it was not done until the end, the boat was pulled out after several rapids because of safety.
The water started dropping after two days, so during the training we went in the group where everybody was guarding each other. That day we caught a perfect wave. Perfect water level of the river. Everyone was happy with the Downriver.
Because of the need to test the Downriver course due to increased dangers from the flooding, Downriver training took over the original plan for Sprint and Slalom training. Instead, on that same day, we visited the track for Sprint and Slalom and got acquainted with where the race would be. The whole infrastructure around the river was built for this occasion.
Ads for this competition could be seen all over the city, as well as most of the way on the road to the river. The competition itself had a direct broadcast on national television, so the competitors were celebrities. The evening opening ceremony was in the football stadium with a large number of spectators, high-ranking officials, a large number of performers and singers, as well as a fantastic fireworks display at the end.
The third day of our stay was reserved for Sprint and H2H competition. The track was quiet but very long for Sprint and gave the following results:
OM: CZE, NZL2, GER; OW: HUN, RUS, CZE
OM: NZL2, CZE, GER; OW: HUN, RUS, CZE
A very long and exhausting day. The competitors helped to set up the gates for the next day’s Slalom, and in that way we already got to know it and make it easier for ourselves.
The fourth day was reserved for Slalom, which passed with the expected result and in the first position placed two Czech teams:
OM: CZE, NZL2, GER; OW: CZE, HUN, RUS
Slalom took less time than planned so we took advantage of that and in the afternoon organized ourselves and went on a tour of the nearby mountain with a glass bridge – some of us took the stairs all the way to the bottom. A mini trip that enabled us to get to know each other better, and an opportunity for me to meet competitors from AUS and NZL – something I have missed in my work until now.
Like clockwork every day, thirteen buses took competitors and judges from the hotel to the track which was fantastic. The traffic was closed as we passed, so this significant advantage made it possible for us to reach the destination as soon as possible.
The day came for the last discipline: Downriver. The water levels had dropped, but the river still
provided much amusement for the competition. At the very beginning there is a large dam with a drain. The task was to run with a race as it descended down the drain, until that rafts were placed behind each other, in the line.
The result:OM: CZE, NZL2, INA; OW: CZE, HUN, RUS
It was also in the Overall order, where Indonesia scored third place in front of Germany by 1 point! All competitors received cash prizes, so with subsidies for air tickets, going to the competition in China did not cost competitors anything, and most of them earned it!
The closing ceremony and the awarding of the medals at the end of the day marked the official end of the competition. Impressions of Jochen Martin Knorz from GER OM team, after everything, are common for all of us: “The participants and the team members had been great. The landscape and the river was unbelievablly pretty. The organisation of this race was also very professional. We would like to visit this area of China again.” The contestants, led by NZL, finished the evening at the karaoke bar.
The next day was reserved for departure. Most of us had the same flight from Guilin, so we
took a tour of the the city before we left. Some extended their stay for several days in Guilin.
Gratitude goes first to the organizers of the competition, Race Director, Safety Director, Judges and the wonderful volunteers and competitors
The next World Cup is in Argentina – see you there!
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