WSSA World Slalom Championship
Dec. 12-13-14, 2008
French version available HERE
The first edition of the WSSA World Slalom Championship took place on 12-13-14 December 2008 in Singapore. It was organised by Micro Sports Singapore Pts Ltd in collaboration with Micro Skate Club.
The championship was divided into two parts:
On Friday and Saturday, the competition was held at Chong Pang RC, a huge concrete slab next to Sembawang Market (a shopping mall… Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me that there were more shopping malls than inhabitants in Singapore). The classic categories took place there: Slides and Speed-Slalom (on Friday), and Individual Freestyle Classic and Jam Freestyle (on Saturday).
Sunday was reserved for Freestyle Battle. For that event, the competition migrated to the center of Singapore, at Novena Square (just in front of a… big shopping mall… I wonder why I mention it!)
For more information on the competition places and its organisation, see the Interview with Eddie Chua (of the organisation)
It’s quite a promising success for a first edition: more than a hundred participants and more than twenty nations were represented – Asia was strongly present with skaters from Singapore, Korea, China, Vietnam, Japan, Hong-Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, India; Europe with skaters from France, the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Holland, Russia; but also skaters from the USA, Australia and Mauritius.
The top of the charts were there:
For men: Igor Cheremetieff (FRA, #1), Rudy Op’t Velt (GER, #2), Guo Fang and Lan Wang Heng (CHN, #3 and #5), Yu Jin Sung (KOR, #6), Tiziano Ferrari (ITA, #7), Xuan Le (FRA, #8), Clarence and Terence Cheung (SIN, #17 and #19), Kim Tae Bin and Kim Sung Jin (#23 and #25)…
For women : Chen Chen (CHN, #1), Chloé Seyrès (FRA, #2), Polina Semenova (RUS, #3), Naomi Grigg (UK, #4), Fanny Violeau (FRA, #11), Jung Jae Won (KOR, #16), Ye Run Shi (CHN, #19), Su Fei Qian (CHN, #142)…
It’s a shame that a few people were missing though, particularly Bao Hui (CHN, #4 WSSA) and Lin Enning (CHN, #11) for the mens Freestyle Individual, and Kirill ‘Rekil’ Ryazantesev (RUS, #10) for the Battle; as for the missing women, Sin Eun Young (KOR, #5) and Nadezhda Zelenova (RUS, #13) would have made things probably tougher for the other girls too.
Two neighbouring hotels, very close to the Battle Place, had been booked by the organisation: all the competitors were in the same boat hotel… quite a lively atmosphere in the hotel corridors…
There were three coaches that were driving us all each morning to the competition place (and back to the hotel on the evening): three quarters of an hour to sleep a little more… or to have breakfast!
The competition started on Friday morning with the Slide category, after a short general warm-up. We all had already tried the place the previous evening so that readjustment was quick.
There were three groups: the Juniors (under 13), 7 women, and 22 men. Amongst the members of the jury, Xiang Zi, the pyromaniac slider. Most of the sliders were Singaporeans – and it was hard to compete with them: to make a comparison, let’s say that in France there are a lot of slalom-skaters and a few sliders… whereas in Singapore there are a lot of sliders and a few slalom-skaters. A big sliderpond, creating a big emulation, leading to a big general level… all this in two years.
Even the little 8-10 year olds manage wheelbarrow and toe acid cross (a few examples from a panel of slides already impressive). The women are not outdone and no doubt they can slide – even if they are a little below the men as for commitment and neatness.
The mens podium unites three of the Micro Team Singapore members: Jireh Goh ends up first, his little brother Rohi third, and Ernest Wong – who had a few days leave granted by the Army to come and participate (military service) – ends up second.
A few outsiders had a go too (I.Cheremetieff, JB Milleret, T.Ferrari, G.Pinto) but they’d been quickly knocked out facing such adversaries, and only G.Pinto (FRA) went through to the 2nd round.
Results of the Womens Slide:
1. Rebecca Chew (SIN)
2. Felicia Ong (SIN)
3. Ziyi Kuek (SIN)
4. Rachel Yeo (SIN)
Results of the Mens Slides:
1. Jireh Goh (SIN)
2. Ernest Wong (SIN)
3. Rohi Goh (SIN)
4. Yang Hsiang Yu (TWN)
Speed-slalom took place on Friday afternoon. Ladies first, men following.
A normal unfolding, beginning with warming up, then time-trials, and finishing with KO-systems.
The qualifications (time-trials)
Only 8 participants out of 16 are kept for the KO systems: (in the qualification order) Ye Runshi with 5.21 (CHN, #8), Chloé Seyrès with 5.32 (FRA, #1), Chen Chen with 5.49 (CHN, #2), Fanny Violeau with 5.63 (FRA, #5), Jung Jae Won with 6.00 (KOR, #9), Su Fei Quian with 6.05 (CHN, #28), Ziyi Kuek with 5.63 (SIN, #23), Lin Chiachi with 6.24 (TPE, #10).
During the quarter-finals, except for Fanny Violeau (FRA) who is knocked out by Jung Jae Won (KOR), the rest of the top-ranked skaters go through to the semi-finals.
½ 1. The first semi-final is between Ye Runshi (CHN) and Jung Jae Won (KOR): Ye Runshi plays safe and qualifies for the finals without difficulty, being faster and neater than her opponent.
½ 2. The second semi-final, closer, is between Chloé Seyrès (FRA) and Chen Chen (CHN). Chen Chen is faster and wins the first round; on the second round she is 3 hundredth in front of C.Seyrès but she kicks a cone and loses the round; on the third round, C.Seyrès speeds up and wins the round… and the semi-finals.
Ye Runshi (CHN) against Chloé Seyrès (FRA). C.Seyrès wins in two rounds, one tenth in front on both rounds (~5.75) – and helped thanks to a strike of Ye Runshi on the second round. A first title for the French, who confirms her WSSA #1 world ranking in this category.
Results of the Womens Speed Slalom:
1. Chloé Seyrès (FRA)
2. Ye Runshi (CHN)
3. Chen Chen (CHN)
4. Jung Jae Won (KOR)
Mens Speed Slalom
Time has come for the men now. They are 40 but only 16 can reach the KO-systems. The twins Guo Fang and Lan Wang Heng (CHN, #3 and #1) end up first of the qualifications with the same best time (4.61); the third qualified is Liao Jie (CHN, #20) who runs in 4.76; Sébastien Laffargue is hot on his heels with 4.78 (FRA, #4), and is followed by Igor Cheremetieff with 4.84 (FRA, #6); JB Milleret (FRA, #2) and Kim Sung Jin (KOR, #68) are both around 4.90; Jireh Goh (SIN, #17) the brand-new slide world champion, qualifies with 5.04; Tiziano Ferrari (ITA, #5) is one tenth farther. From this point, times get less close (between 5.38 for the 10th qualified and 5.79 for the 16th).
The eighth finals
Guo Fang (CHN) and Lan Wang Heng (CHN) qualify easily. The same for Liao Jie (CHN) and Sébastien Laffargue (FRA). Igor Cheremetieff (FRA) gets knocked out, striking twice and giving two rounds to his opponent Huan Yu Ping (TPE); and last but not least, JB Milleret (FRA) and Kim Sung Jin (KOR) win their respective rounds.
The quarter finals
¼ 1. Lan Wang Heng (CHN) knocks out Tiziano Ferrari (ITA) in two rounds: T.Ferrari strikes on the first round, and on the second round Wang Heng is one tenth in front of T.Ferrari despite one penality (5.169 Vs. 5.268).
¼ 2. Same thing: Sébastien Laffargue (FRA) knocks out Huang Yu Ping (TPE) in two rounds.
¼ 3. A very close fight between Liao Jie (CHN) and JB Milleret (FRA): two perfect rounds for both the opponents, and very close times (only a difference of one hundredth)… finally it’s JB Milleret who goes through to the semi-finals.
¼ 4. Kim Sung Jin (KOR) gives a hard time to Guo Fang (CHN)… Guo Fang offers the first round to Kim Sung Jin with a strike. The second round is won by Guo
Fang: Kim Sung Jin, despite a better time (5.34 Vs. 5.4) kicks three cones. At the third round it’s Kim Sung Jin’s time to strike, and thus he leaves the round and the quarter-final victory to Guo
In semi-finals, it’s the Top-4 of the WSSA World Ranking who is going to meet: the Chinese against the French.
½ 1. Lan Wang Heng (CHN) is faster and neater (runs below 5.1) and knocks out Sébastien Laffargue (FRA) in two rounds.
½ 2. Guo Fang (CHN) meets JB Milleret (FRA). A little suspense: the first round goes to Guo Fang (JB Milleret kicks 4 cones), the second goes to JB Milleret (Guo Fang strikes), and the other way round for the third round (JB Milleret strikes). In the end, it’s Guo Fang who goes through to the finals.
The consolation final
A three-round consolation final in which Sébastien Laffargue (FRA) and JB Milleret (FRA) meet. The first round is very close: one cone for each skater and (nearly) the same time…. 5.615 for JB Milleret and 5.618 for Sébastien Laffargue! S.Laffargue gains the upper hand in the second round, but kicks 2 cones during the third – and he loses the round… and the third place on the podium. It is thus JB Milleret who gets the third place on the world podium in speed slalom.
Guo Fang (CHN) Vs. Wang Heng (CHN) : the twins have to compete against each other. A very neat but action-packed final. Since the beginning of the competition, Lan Wang Heng has been steady around 5.1, Guo Fang has been slower (but it was probably to pace himself). The first two rounds are done managing perfects on both sides: the first round goes to Guo Fang (with 5.139), and the second round to Wang Heng (with 5.166). On the third round, Wang Heng is slightly in front (with less than 2 hundredth) but kicks one more cone than Guo Fang (2 Vs. 1)… and with the cone-penalty he finishes far behind Guo Fang (5.355) with 5.539. Guo Fang is thus the winner of the KO systems and wins the world title in speed slalom.
Results of the Mens Speed Slalom:
1. Guo Fang (CHN)
2. Lan Wang Heng (CHN)
3. JB Milleret (FRA)
4. Sébastien Laffargue (FRA)
Womens Individual Classic Freestyle
We are now Saturday, and it is the second day of the competition. And here is the program at 10 in the morning: spreading tons of sun cream all over your burnt bodies (for Caucasian people only) – a consequence of our first sunbath of the winter, the day before – and warming up for the freestyle competition in the sunshine that is already beating down too hard… and eventually praying for the sun cream to be waterproof!
Fifteen competitors, and ten nations represented: China, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, France, Russia, the UK, the USA, Taipei, and Holland.
Nobody did a super-perfect run… except for Polina Semenova (RUS) who ends up 4th.
1-Chen Chen (CHN) :
Chen Chen, who ends up 1st and takes over the world title in Classic Freestyle, let a good general impression, very lively and full of go (cf. her introduction… as always), with freestyle moves well put together and to the music (cf. her 50s)… but she managed none of her big tricks – apart from a toe seven managing 3 cones: she misses her heel seven, her sewing-machine and her heel special one foot.
2-Chloé Seyrès (FRA) :
The beginning of her run is ok (cf. 80s), powerful and set to the music… a few dampers though (arms lacking precision, external toe seven missed). But the biggest damper is in the middle of the 50s: a lack of balance on the sewing-machine triggering a moment of wavering… quickly made up on a back heel wheeling. Tiredness coming can be felt at the end of the run when she does a series of kasatchocks (frontward-turning-backward) on the 120s… but she did it!
3-Shu Fei Qian (CHN) :
A real cannonball… she is 10 but looks 8… and in pure technique, she can make most of the guys green with envy: super-well at ease doing heel special one foot, never-ending toe chicken legs, a suppleness in accordance with her young age (she can do butterfly eights on two cones)…
To be honest: she pulverised everybody with the first half of her run. But on the second half she does a poor performance: she stops and starts again from the beginning of the line when she is not satisfied with her combos, too many cones down, hesitations… she nevertheless reaches the 3rd place on the podium (might be debatable).
Once she has mastered her mind and won muscle power, then we will really have something to worry about!
4-Polina Semenova (RUS) :
A very neat run, with no cones down. The only noticeable mistake: a loss of balance on her very last trick (a kasatchock) and she puts her hand on the ground – but she re-validates it immediately afterwards. In this run, she makes the most of Compass tricks (with lots of evolutions). Some stylish moves soundly put to the music. A very agreeable general impression, for a mastered run which might have deserved better that being at the foot of the podium (this is my personal opinion).
5-Ye Runshi (CHN)
She is first of all a speed-slalom skater, but still she participates in freestyle category too. An honest run, to which a certain touch of originality would have helped for it to be a cut above the rest.
6-Fanny Violeau (FRA) :
A linear but efficient run, making the most of sitting tricks (her strong points ; but a few waverings and a little too many cones down let a somewhat muddled general impression.
7-Jung Jae Won (KOR) :
Her run is neat, more based on style (dancing moves, work on the free leg) than on pure technique (which would have been welcome too). But the execution speed is good, and the whole run is balanced (except for the ending screw). And though the beginning is a little long (fans show), when it starts it’s nice to watch.
8-Hsiao Wan Ju (TPE)
9-Naomi Grigg (UK) :
Naomi-Style. Just enjoy. A shame that it’s lacking a little preparation…
Results of the Womens Individual Classic Freestyle:
1. Chen Chen (CHN)
2. Chloé Seyrès (FRA)
3. Shu Fei Qian (CHN)
Mens Individual Classic Freestyle
46 participants! Useless to say that variety and level were highly present… which makes things a lot more complicated to decide between the competitors…
This category took most of the afternoon to be completed, and apart from a light weather incident (a few rain drops which were more frightening than harmful in the end) everything passed off without a hitch.
1-Guo Fang (CHN)
2-Wang Heng (CHN) :
Finally it’s the two Chinese Guo Fang and Wang Heng who take over the first two places (a feeling of déjà-vu after the Speed-slalom of the previous day). It’s not very surprising: they both remain truthful to their skating… a lot of style, punctuated by huge technical peaks (on toe for Guo Fang, and on heel for Wang Heng). Guo Fang is not as heavy on technical challenge as Wang Heng but he is neater on the whole: toe sevens, toe special one foot, toe wiper, toe wheeling back to front on the 50s for Guo Fang; whereas Wang Heng tries to play at Hard Level: heel special one foot opposite to normal (but out of the line), heel wheeling back to front on the 50s, external back heel seven and coming back with front seven (not managed till the end). Even if all is not perfectly managed… Respect.
It’s probably their 120s (a line on which Wang Heng misses his combos) which makes the difference. Guo Fang wins his second world title… and is going to try to get a third one the next day.
3-Yu Jin Sung (KOR) :
Your attention please: no objectivity whatsoever in the following lines. A magical run, stylish and rhythmic… he is my personal favourite for this competition. It’s a must-see! Talking about style he’s one length ahead. As for the pure technical moments, there’s nothing about the two Chinese prodigies he should be jealous of: heel wheeling back to front on the 80s, toe seven on the 120s, heel seven on the 80s, back to wheeling to block (not managed) on the 50s…
4-Kim Sung Jin (KOR)
Quite an empty run – he doesn’t manage his big tricks. Nevertheless it’s still and always nice to watch (a real Korean mash-up KSJ Style can’t be but nice!)
5-Igor Cheremetieff (FRA) :
Always powerful in his skating, which is an originality (and an advantage?) here where skating is usually smooth. A start on the 50s which sets the tone for the rest, with a front toe wheeling to U-turn to back toe wheeling, and with a nice toe wheeling front to back. However, some losses of balance parasite the general impression… nearly forgotten thanks to a well-performed line of sitting tricks at the end of the run. Also some efforts to stick to the music, but not enough to rival with those of the Asian people…
6-Xuan Le (FRA) :
He bluffs, provokes: he has fun… It’s original, non-academic, freestyle, and stylish! Some combos of his own (a screw ending sitting cross-legged, home-made giga-voltes reaching the other line…). And apart from a slight hitch on a combo of blocs the rest is very smooth.
Other performances worth being noticed: those of the Koreans Kim Tae Bin (7th) and Lee Choong Goon (12th), those of the Cheug brothers Terence (9th) and Clarence (13th) (SIN), that of the Chinese Liao Jie (10th), and of the Italian Tiziano Ferrari (14th).
Talking about the Ferrari case: his run is worth having a glance at. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had ended up in the Top 5. He is one of the rare participants who (really) mastered their runs: all the elements were gathered. It was neat, stylish, with presence… and with sevens and back wheeling.
Results of the Mens Individual Classic Freestyle:
1. Guo Fang (CHN)
2. Lan Wang Heng (CHN)
3. Yu Jin Sung (KOR)
1-Kim Sung Jin & Yu Jin Sung (KOR) :
One word: Woah. They get the WSSA world title beyond dispute: the Koreans reign supreme over jam!
2-Guo Fang & Lan Wang Heng (CHN) :
Less captivating than the Korean jam: they are not showmen enough. Anyway, there’s nothing much to criticize about their synchronicity. And their last trick (a double Korean screw)… they must have a crazy imagination to think about that – such a shame Guo Fang finishes the trick with a fall…
3-Clarence Cheung & Ng Ping Hwee (SIN) :
A dynamic jam to an old Madonna hit… they jump, cross each other. They’ve got nice stylish moves, and some ideas! (see their final screw, mutually stopped with their hands to restart it turning the other way). Damp: a little wavering on the 120s and on the 80s following…
It’s long, and quite messy, it’s freestyle, it’s occidental! A nice show full of go following the spirit of Team Battle…
Results of the Freestyle Jam:
1. Kim Sung Jin & Yu Jin Sung (KOR)
2. Guo Fang & Lan Wang Heng (CHN)
3. Clarence Cheug & Ng Ping Hwee (SIN)
4. Naomi Grigg (UK) & John Stanning (AUS) Vs. Rudy Op't Veld & Thomas Vilcans (GER)
The first part of the competition is now over.
After a big buffet on the competition site, and once everyone has taken pictures of and with everybody, it’s time for the podiums of the first two days’ categories … in a very… techno-dance-remixed atmosphere!
Summary of this first part of the WSSA World Championship!
Slides: Rebecca Chew (SIN) for women, and Gireh Goh (SIN) for men
Speed Slalom: Chloé Seyrès (FRA) for women, and Guo Fang (CHN) for men
Individual Freestyle: Chen Chen (CHN) for women, and Guo Fang (CHN) for men
Jam Freestyle: Kim Sung Jin and Yu Jin Sung (KOR)
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