IWSF/IWWF* WATER SKIING FOR THE DISABLED
An historical overview...
1987 - The first World Trophy, a non-record event, took place outside London in England with officials from the European, African, Middle Eastern (EAME) Confederation and one from the Pan Am Confederation. There were 40 participants from 7 countries. Great Britain won the team title ahead of the USA and Australia.
1989 - The Second World Trophy, a national record capability event, took place outside Perth, Australia with officials from the Asia-Australasian Confederation and one each from the Pan Am and EAME Confederations. There were 55 participants from 9 countries. Great Britain won the team title ahead of the USA and Australia.
1991 - The Third and final World Trophy, a world record capability event, took place in Michigan, in the USA with at least two officials from each Confederation. There were 65 participants from 12 countries. Great Britain won the team title ahead of the USA and Australia.
1993 - The first-ever World Championships, a world record capability event, were held in Roquebrune, France with at least three officials from each Confederation as per the new rules. There were a record 84 participants from 15 countries. The USA won the team title ahead of Great Britain and Australia.
1995 - The second World Championships were held in Mulwala, Australia with 56 athletes from 12 countries. Nineteen world records were set. The USA won the team title ahead of Great Britain and Australia.
1997 - The third World Championships were held in Florida in the USA with 66 athletes from a record 16 countries. Sixteen world records were set and one equaled. Great Britain won the team title ahead of the USA & Australia.
1999 - The fourth World Championships were held outside London, at the site of the first World Trophy. There were 75 athletes from 15 countries. Eleven world records were set. The USA won the team title ahead of Great Britain and Australia.
2001 - The fifth World Championships were held near Melbourne, Australia. There were 57 athletes from 15 countries, the best attendance to date both in athlete and country numbers in the AA Region. Eight world records were set. Great Britain won the team title ahead of the USA and Australia.
2003 - The sixth World Championships, and the sport’s tenth anniversary, took place in Florida, USA. There were 68 athletes from 15 countries. Eight world records were set and one tied. The USA won the team title ahead of Great Britain and Italy.
2005 - The seventh World Championships were held in Schoten, Beligum in September with 60 athletes from 17 countries, the latter a record with two new ones participating, Brazil and South Africa. There were ten world records, and the team title was won by Great Britain, ahead of the USA and Australia.
2007 - The eighth World Championships took place in Townsville, Australia in May with 52 athletes from 15 countries, the number of countries tying an AA record for attendance. Eight world records were set; and Great Britain won the team title again, ahead of Australia, second for the first time ever, and the USA. The USA and Great Britain have now each won four World titles.
2009 – The ninth World Championships were held in Vichy, France in early September with forty-seven competitors from a record 18 countries, the newest country being
Austria. There were four world records set, one of them having stood for 20 years (A jump). The United States broke its four/four team titles tie with Great Britain to garner the prestigious team title, ahead of Italy and France, both on the podium for the first time ever.
2011 – The tenth World Championships took place in West Chester, Ohio, USA in late August with 38 skiers from 13 countries. The United States won its second team title in a row; and Italy and France repeated their podium finishes of two years ago in France. There were four world records set and one tied by four different skiers from all three confederations. For the first time ever, medals were awarded in only three categories: seated, standing and vision impaired.
2013 – The 11th World Championships were held in Milan, Italy in late August with 45 skiers from twelve countries. The United States won its third team title in a row with Italy second for the third time straight and Australia third, back on the team podium for the first time since 2007. The United States is the first country to ever win three consecutive team titles. There were five world records set by three different skiers from two confederations. Nine of the twelve countries in attendance won medals.
2015 - The 12th World Championships were held in Elk Grove, California, USA in September with 49 skiers from eleven countries. The United States won its on-going record fourth team title in a row with Australia second, one spot up from 2013 (second time on the podium since 2007) and Italy third for its fourth team podium in a row. The United States was the first country to ever win three consecutive team titles. There were three world records set by E&A’s Claire Ellis, and eight of the eleven countries in attendance won medals.
2017 - The 13th World Championships were held in Myuna Bay, Australia with 44 skiers from ten countries. There were 2 jump records set, one each by Canada and Australia, and seven of the ten countries in attendance won medals. After placing third in Italy in 2013, second in the USA in 2015, Australia was victorious by skiing consistently well to win its first ever team title, very satisfying as the host country.
2019 - The 14th World Championships were held in Skarnes, Norway in July with 44 skiers from eleven countries. The United States won the world team title with Australia second and Great Britain third. There were seven world records set, three in slalom, three in tricks and one in jump, by skiers from Australia, Canada, France the USA. Nine of the eleven countries in attendance won medals.
1986 - In Norway, the original commission of three persons was formed.
1987 - At the time of the first Trophy, there was one member from each Confederation, all disabled, and a president, Peter Felix. It was a Commission, reflecting a lack of participating countries, hence a World Trophy instead of a World Championships.
1989 - At the second Trophy, an additional member was chosen to the Commission from each Confederation, all able-bodied.
1991 - After the IWSF Executive Board encouraged the Disabled Commission to move towards Council status (the status of all other major Sports Disciplines such as Tournament, Barefoot and Racing), a third member was selected to the Commission from each Confederation, and in some cases an alternate.
1992 - The IWSF Executive Board approved Council status for the disabled in July, due to an increase in participating countries, established rules, etc. The Disabled Council is now on equal footing with the other Sports Disciplines.
2019 IWWF DISABLED COUNCIL
Chair: Paul Airey, GBR (2019 - Co-Chair 2017)
Confederation Pan Am (North America and Latin America)
Bill Bowness, USA (86) - President
Jim Grew, USA (89)
Glenn Bowie (18)
Jasmine Northcott, CAN (18) - alternate
Confederation E&A (Europe & Africa)
Paul Airey, GBR (16) - President (14)
Dany De Bakker, BEL (09)
Carmen Ferrer Bosch (19)
Ivar Fosse, NOR (09) - alternate
Philippe Turchet, FRA (19) - alternate
Confederation AAO (Asia, Australasia & Oceania)
Jason Sleep, AUS (17) - President
Noel Dix, AUS (19)
Belinda Sidman, AUS (19)
Glen Sidman, AUS (17) - alternate
Technical Committee: Co-chair, Paul Airey, GBR (13); Co-chair, Dany De Bakker, BEL (09)
Classification Committee: Co-chair, Denise Bowness, USA (19); Co-chair, Bill Bowness, USA (19)
IWSF Web Site Liaison: Paul Airey, GBR (11)
IWWF Athletes Commision Representative: Daniele Cassioli, ITA (19)
Six of the nine voting Council members are former or current elite athletes, three of whom competed in the 2017 world tournament. A fourth, the first disabled athlete to be inducted into the IWWF HOF (13) and the USA HOF (15), served as 2017 Worlds CJ, also a first. Tech Co. co-chair Paul Airey is a former member of the British team and Jamie McDonald is still competing at a record breaking level. One of the three alternates is a former elite athlete as well.
In 1989, each Confederation had its own set of IWSF World Rules for the Disabled. By 1991, one set of rules, keyed to the IWSF able-bodied rules, had been approved. A more sophisticated set was finalized, including all the necessary appendices, and keyed specifically, rule by rule, to the IWSF rules in 1992. 1994 witnessed the addition of a tournament handbook which by 2001 contained sections on classification, interpretations, and records (record standards and a complete record series). The diagrams out of the Handbook were put in to a sperate addendum in 2007.
The first world records were set at the 1991 World Trophy with the proviso that there were at least 4 contestants in the event. Performances from the 1989 Trophy that qualified under this stipulation, and were not exceeded at the 1991 event, were also grandfathered in as records. All others were tracked as world tournament bests. With the 1993 Worlds, records could be set in all categories because minimum standards had been established. 1995 witnessed the tracking of Confederation records for the first time.
The original categories were as follows: Arm amputees (A); Leg Amputees (L & LP); Multiple Plegics -Paraplegics & Quadriplegics – (MP1, MP2 & MP3); Blind & Vision Impaired (V1, V2 & V3); Deaf; Les Autres (the others)
- The Leg Amputee category was divided into two (with and without prosthesis) after the 1989 Trophy.
- The Multiple Plegics category was divided into three after the 1991 Trophy according to a classification system performed at each worlds. The women were recombined at the World Tournament in 1995 because of a lack of participation and were separated again in 2000.
- The Vision Impaired category (V2 & V3) was divided into two according to the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) classification system, which necessitates passports indicating status. In 1994, it was combined back into one again (V2/3). 1998 saw the IWSF Disabled Classification Committee take over the task of classifying its athletes using the IBSA like parameters.
- The category for Deaf was eliminated after the 1989 Trophy.
- Les Autres, a catch-all category for those who do not fit into the current framework, became demonstration in 1990.
- The IWSF Disabled movement was determined to be for the physically disabled only in 1989.
- A new category was trialed in the 1999 Worlds called A/L for those with significant arm and leg impairment, arm and leg amputation, and hemiplegia. This category would also include skiers with cerebral palsy and other disabilities/conditions that are able to ski upright for slalom. It received a second trial in 2001 and was added as an official category after that event and for the 2003 worlds, for men only. After the 2003 Worlds, this category was expanded to include women. In 2006, it was divided into two categories (A/L1 & A/L2).
- Also trialed was a new slalom event for the vision impaired called audio slalom which better simulates able-bodied slalom. It replaced wake slalom in 2001.
- In 2010, the ten existing categories at that time were combined into three: seated, standing and vision impaired for medal distribution. World record standards remained in all ten categories.
- The Multiple Plegics category was divided into five after the 2013 World Championships using an updated version of the former classification system performed at each worlds in that the tests themselves remained unchanged, only the cut-offs between categories.
- A second arm amputee category was finalised for 2016 (A1 & A2).
- The Multiple Plegics category (currently five) has been divided into six with the current MP1 being divided into two separate categories, the other four remaining the same, effective for the 2019 Worlds.
*The International Water Ski Federation (IWSF) became the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) in August of 2009.
Author: Jim Grew (15th April 2018)