Undaunted by the seasonal threat of typhoons in the area, the special Opening Ceremony here in Akita Prefecture in north west Japan brought a great sense of tradition to the event. As part of the programme of the International University Sports Federation (FISU), the scene is now set for the World University Waterski Championships, culminating in Saturday and Sunday’s battle for Finals honours in Waterski Slalom, Tricks and Jump.
In welcoming all, Mr Byon Jin YOU, FISU Executive Committee member, highlighted the need in these troubled times to uphold basic human values, build teamwork and promote fairness, all of which are contained in the Charter of the United Nations and where sport plays such a special role.
Against the background of traditional Ocarina pipe music and drums loud enough to wake the dead, the giant Namahage festival creature of the nearby Oga area is thought to bring great harvests, good health and luck to the villagers. No doubt the athletes also hoped that they too will get some help from the Namahage at these Championships as he paid them a visit tonight!
The final list of countries represented at these World University Waterski Championships includes Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia and USA.