Nic Rapa produced a masterful display to round 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.
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.
Rapa told me after:
It’s been an absolutely amazing week!
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 team-mates, including twin sister Chiara who was placed sixth in the Open Women’s final.
I don’t know what to say!
I’m really happy!
It was amazing!
I felt all week that I could do it.
I thought a lot about what I was going to do since yesterday and just changed two tricks.
I can’t believe it.
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.
Frenchman Lucas Langlois topped the podium in the Over 30 Master Men while American Alex Albin became IWWF Under 14 Boys world champion and Mackenzie McCarthy secured Australia’s second gold medal of the day in the Junior Women’s event.
With green and gold clearly the colour scheme in fashion, Sam Brown produced another powerful display to win the Junior Men’s final and complete an Aussie haul of five IWWF world titles following Sienna Curren’s success in the Under 14 Girls 24 hours earlier.
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)
1. Mackenzie McCarthy (AUS)
2. Julia Molinari (ITA)
3. Anna Maria Kushkovskaya (RUS)
1. Sam Brown (AUS)
2. Maxime Roux (FRA)
3. Jamie Huser (SUI)
1. Alice Virag (ITA)
2. Sanne Meijer (NED)
3. Eugenia De Armas (ARG)
1. Nic Rapa (AUS)
2. Shota Tezuka
3. Tony Iacconi (AUS)
Tony Lewis, is a former British print and BBC broadcast journalist with more than 40 years’ media and PR experience.