‘Calming’ the waters at Putrajaya

WITH less than two weeks to go before the start of the IWWF Waterski World Championship at Putrajaya, the final touches are being done to ensure the venue is brought up to world-level skiing condition.

The Malaysian Waterski and Wakeboard Federation (MWWF), in collaboration with Putrajaya Corporation (PPJ), have spent the last four weeks upgrading the ski site to ensure that skiers for the world meet from Aug 13-19 will have a smoother experience on the water.

The Putrajaya Lake is arguably one of the best ski sites in the world in terms of infrastructure.

The only setback, if any, is that the water condition there is not the best as the water tends to get rough and choppy from the winds, and also due to the backwash coming back to the ski course after each pass of the tow boat at the stadium site.

In order to minimize backwash, the MWWF, with the assistance of Putrajaya Corporation, have installed two significant upgrades at the ski site.

The first is the laying of rocks along the shoreline of the stadium.

This is to help boat wakes arriving on the shores have the energy removed and not come back into the ski course when the competition gets underway.

The second is the installation of a windbreaker system. It is made of hard wood in 34 segments linked together for a total of 150m long for the far end of the 350m long slalom course that is exposed to winds from east of the open area. The windbreaker system floats just above the water level of the lake and “kills” the waves created from the wind from crossing into the ski course.

This is the second major upgrade on the site which was improved once by implementing a backwash system on the vertical walls of the Marina Putrajaya during the 2017 Sea Games.

The IWWF representative, Larry Gisler, who will be the assistant chief judge for the World Championships, said the upgrades have certainly improved the Putrajaya waterski venue.

“I’ve been coming to Malaysia every year since 2008 and we have done a lot of upgrades for the Sea Games and now this world meet,” said the Chilean who has also served to develop Malaysian waterski and is coaching the Malaysian team prior to the start of the World Championships.

“The water becomes rough from wind conditions and backwash, so the rocks are in place to ensure that when the waves hit it, it stays there. This will make the surface of the water more calm.

“Right now we certainly have the best condition for the championships. I would say the site is now world record condition and it would be nice to see some world records broken in two weeks time,” he said.

Leading Malaysian waterskier, Aaliyah Yoong Hanifah gave her thumbs up at the upgrades done on the site.

“The ski site has definitely improved over the years. With the rocks and the windbreakers, there are now less rollers and the water is not as choppy as before,” said Aaliyah.

“Training-wise, I’ve been doing better since Larry got here. I think this will be a good tournament for the world’s top waterski athletes and I am certainly excited to set some new Malaysian records and maybe even get an Asian record or two.”

The 2019 IWWF Waterski World Championship is hosted by Putrajaya Corporation, and supported by Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau, an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Nautique Boats USA.

| | |
Hanifah Yoong Yin Fah
New Straits Times