Age is just a number for American Waterski jumper Scot Ellis. Although the hair of the 47-year-old ‘Rocketman’ has turned silver, he proved at the Moomba Masters that he has still got it – he hit the ramp at over 100 km/h and landed a jump of 60+ metres.
For Ellis it was the 30th anniversary of his first appearance (in 1988) at the event, which takes place on the Yarra River in the centre of Melbourne. The daytime competition was won by Ryan Dodd, the world record holder from Canada. However the Moomba Masters also holds a Night of the Jumps, and that was won by someone with a very appropriate name; who better for night-time thrills and making people jump than Freddy Krueger! Yes, the American Waterski legend really does share the same name as the central character in the Hollywood horror movies. Should Waterski get the green light for Birmingham 2021, will Freddy create a nightmare in AL State for his sporting rivals?
The Moomba Masters was a blockbuster hit with the Australian public. A record quarter of a million spectators were present at the event. Another sport counting in the millions is Squash; the popular racket sport is definitely feeling like a million dollars. That is the prize money on offer for the next two PSA Squash World Championships, after a lucrative sponsorship deal was struck with a Chicago-based investment group headed by long-term Squash supporter Mark Walter.
Under the terms of the sponsorship, the World Championships will be held in ‘The Windy City’ for the next two events, the prize money will be split equally between men and women, and a partnership with the MetroSquash charity will enable aspiring Squash players from the local high schools to have time on court with their sporting heroes. Walter said: “My wife Kimbra and I are supporting the growth of Squash in Chicago for three reasons. We want to raise money for MetroSquash and allow the kids to hit the court. We want to give this tremendously talented and highly diverse group of athletes the recognition they deserve. And we want to show off Chicago as a home for world-class sports.”
Canoe Polo is another sport celebrating a new partnership deal, and it is hoping for expanded growth as a result. Sports manufacturer Yupin Sports has agreed to loan all the poolside equipment needed to stage this year's World Championships in Welland, Canada, plus communication headsets and uniforms for the match officials. The Chinese company has also committed to donating 20 sets of kayaks and paddles to a new national federation for each year of the ten-year deal, with The Philippines becoming the first recipient. The agreement will hopefully broaden the reach of the sport beyond its European heartland, as Japan is the only nation outside of Europe to win a medal at The World Games. An ICF spokesman said: “For Canoe Polo to move forward and become a truly global sport, we both agree that the donation of equipment and subsequent follow-up support to new countries is necessary. Whilst Canoe Polo has developed steadily over the years, it is agreed that significant external and long-term support is necessary to promote the development of this discipline.”
Though the weather may have been much colder than they are used to back home, it did not seem to bother Africa's two representatives at the Vancouver Rugby 7s. Thanks to a last-minute try in their semi-final, Kenya shocked the USA with a 24-19 win. Though Olympic Champions Fiji proved too strong a test in the final, the East Africans' rare silver medal was the subject of a congratulatory message from President Uhuru Kenyatta. The Fijians and Kenyans were joined on the podium by South Africa who claimed the bronze.