PKRA/CABARETE FREESTYLE SINGLE ELIMINATION LADDER NO CAKEWALK!
(June 26, 2003-Cabarete, Dominican Republic)- Following on the heels of the difficult Trials competition, the Freestyle single elimination ladder was started at 2pm, in 20-25 knot winds. From the beginning of heat one, it was obvious that all riders competing would have to work hard to advance! Achieving a solid placing in the singles ladder will determine the work- load ahead in the doubles ladder. Both the Men's, and Women's ladders were completed up to the Semifinals round.
The Men's competitive field is packed with talent and all the riders making it into this Main event are of the highest level!. Handle passes are becoming a part of the competitive landscape, with some riders managing them with more consistency, though in 'overall impression' a 'one trick pony' will need to demonstrate versatility, creativity and flow. Early on some very surprising upsets left some normally strong riders behind in round one, such as Marcello Cunha BRA, Malik Bouchenafa ALG, Sky Solbach USA, Mark Shinn UK, Jeremie Eloy FRA, Jose Luengo ESP, and Alvaro Oneiva ESP. These riders will all get their chance to climb back up in the doubles ladder!
In the man on man formatted round two, for the Men, a few notable defeats occurred. Eighteen year old, Christian Brouwer NED, beat Abel Lago ESP. In a close and exciting heat, Andre Phillip ANT passed by the promising Jose-Luis Ciriaco DR, both pulling off phenomenal tricks, both high and powered! Adam Koch USA, was undone by Dominican favorite Luciano Gonzales. And probably one of the most significant conquests came in the heat, and subsequent reheat, between Will James USA and fourteen year old Aaron Hadlow UK, in a controversy over whether the judging body realized young Aaron was wearing a 'harness ring' when scoring his handle passes, a re-match was run. Demonstrating incredible maturity on the part of Hadlow, he gutted out the rematch by transferring his energy into a second win over James! The ordeal exemplifies the trend towards the new style of 'handle passes and consequences', yet demonstrates that versatility and creativity, alongside technically difficult moves, wins in overall impression! Making the 2nd win even sweeter, Hadlow went on to advance over Etienne Lhote FRA in the Quarterfinals! The other matches leading into the Quarterfinals were Jaime Herraiz ESP beating out Steve Kellner UK, the two hot young guns, Mark Doyle USA and Giani Aragno ESP, with Doyle winning, and David Tybuski USA having to step aside for Martin Vari ARG, who executed a series of 'vari'ations of handle passes in his repertoire, most notably, a double handle pass over 20 feet high very close to shore, to the applause of the crowds! Of late, Vari's performances have been like a matador in the ring!
In the Men's Quarterfinals, more shakeups occurred. Young Brouwer NED defeated the number 4 World ranked rider Herraiz ESP. Phillip ANT undid the last rising Dominican Gonzales. Previously mentioned, Hadlow UK won over Lhote FRA. The finish to the Quarters is stalled until a rerun of the heat between Mark Doyle USA and Martin Vari ARG is completed, apparently due to some controversy over a judging snafu. The winner of that heat will move ahead into the last open slot of the Semifinals.
The Men's competition will continue with the Singles Semifinal round:
Christian Brouwer NED versus Andre Phillip ANT
Aaron Hadlow UK versus TBD (Vari or Doyle)
The Women's competition was also full of excitement and upsets! Starting with some Top names left behind in the first round, Fabienne D'Ortoli FRA, Laurel Eastman USA, Julie Prochaska-Gilbert USA , Kristin Boese GER, and Fiona Wedenig SUI. All of these women are solid and experienced, and have always upped the riding level in the women's division, Their losses are indicative that here, as in the Men's field, as the participant numbers and sport grow, competitive pressures increase!
In the Women's Quarterfinals, 19 year old wildcard, and Tour unknown, Susie Mai DR took down veteran Claire Bunton UK. Consistent Ingrid Kollbichler AUT held her slot over a strongly improved Andrea Wharry UK. Rebecca Wolthers USA, freshly recovered from a shoulder and ribs injury, and absent for the Tour start, conquered a fighting Laurence Laliberte CAN in an energetic heat. And, Cindy Mosey NZ managed to hold her place against a determined and promising Petra Goeschl NED. The Women's field has been blowing minds as they close the gap between the genders in performing hot freestyle action!
Their competition continues with the SinglesSemifinals round:
Susie Mai DR versus Ingrid Kollbichler AUT
Rebecca Wolthers USA versus Cindy Mosey NZ
Scheduled for tomorrow, a skippers meeting at noon, with a possible start into the finish of the Freestyle Singles competition, at 1pm, with a continuation on to the Doubles ladder!
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