Ski Able water skiing tournament
by Alison Smith
Director, Aust Waterski & Wakeboard Association
The focus of Ski Able is the Tournament Water Skiing for people with disability, including physical disabilities or vision impairment.
Disability water skiing categories
Within Ski Able there are 6 broad categories for the disability water skiing events.
These are skiers with disabilities such as spinal cord injuries (paraplegia, quadriplegia), bilateral leg amputations or other conditions which affect the lower limbs. There are 3 categories within this division.
This group of water skiers includes people with various forms of vision impairment as well as those who are totally blind. Skiers use an audio device for slalom skiing and a guide for jumps. There are 2 categories in the V Division
L Division is for skiers who have an above or below knee amputation. Skiers can ski with or without their prosthesis.
These skiers have either an arm amputation or an impairment of one arm (such as a brachial plexus injury).
Arm and leg division
This division is for skiers who have an impairment of both upper and lower limbs. Skiers may have hemiplegia as a result of a stroke or brain injury, they may have amputations or a congenital disability.
This year the World Championship was held in Townsville in May 2007. "BRILLIANT" is how the International Water Ski Federation (IWSF) Disabled Council described the worlds event in Townsville.
Most competitors at the 2007 World Disabled Titles in Townsville commented that it was at the most beautiful site and it was the most organised event they have ever attended. 14 Countries and 52 competitor's attended the ski event.
Australia, for the first time ever in the history of disabled world titles, placed second on the podium in the teams point score. This is a huge achievement to finally get ahead of the United States who have long been the leaders in the sport. The Australian Ski Able team always excel in the jump event, which is why they are known as the Flying Kangaroos.
How to get started
Ski Able is always looking for new skiers to join in this exciting sport. Most water ski clubs are willing to help teach a person with disability, so make contact with your local club. You can also contact skiers on the Australian Team to get skiing equipment and information about rules or other advice.
For more information visit the disabled water ski website also known as Ski Able.
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