Early birds Canada ready to wrest team title in Putrajaya


  • Other Sports
  • Tuesday, 13 Aug 2019

PUTRAJAYA: Team Canada are aiming for a gold-medal haul when the Waterski World Championships gets under way at the Water Sport Complex in Putrajaya today.

The Canadians, spearheaded by four-time world champion Whitney McClintock-Rini and reigning women’s tricks champion Neilly Ross, have been in Malaysia for the past week preparing for the meet.

And they are optimistic that they are well ahead of the game as they seek another strong finish, with their main target, the team title they last won in 2015.

Their head coach Steve Bush is confident his charges will rise to the occasion this week despite the unfamiliar weather conditions.

“I actually came here in March to look at the site and to sort everything out, so there was no hassle for us as we are already ahead of the game,” said Bush.

“From March to now, the organisers have a done a lot of work by preventing the backwash and putting the bricks down. The only issue here is Mother Nature, particularly the wind.

“But I believe we’re in good shape to win the team title. That is our goal since we missed it in 2017 and we’ve made some adjustments to the team.

“We certainly have a good chance but it’s going to be a roller-coaster ride.

“The US are always the top team that we’re after but there are also strong teams like Belarus, France and possibly England as well,” he added.

The Americans, featuring a squad of reigning and past world champions, are the defending champions and are definitely the team to beat.

The 29-year-old McClintock, who was the world champion in 2009 and 2011, however, believed the Canadians are young but very dangerous.

“We’ve worked really hard to come out on top this time. This team is young but it is a strong team,” said McClintock.

“I think the difference from 2017 is that we added a few more backup tricking scorers to the team.

“The newest member to the team, Paige (Rini), who is also my step-daughter, is good in tricks and is an overall athlete who will be a valuable member for the team race.

“Two years ago, I let the team down unfortunately, in tricking. Hopefully we will get it back this time,” added McClintock.

The other members include two-time men’s jump world champion Ryan Dodd, men’s overall world No. 3 Dorien Llewellyn and Stephen Neveu.
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