Medals and records brought back from Kakamas

Various team members delivered memorable performances.
Andrew Poolman
The 2024 All Africa Waterski Championship, a biennial competition, was hosted by the Namibia Water Ski Association.
This year’s competition was initially scheduled to be held at the Von Bach Dam near Okahandja, but due to the drought and extremely low water levels was moved and hosted at Lake Grappa, near Kakamas in South Africa.
Namibia was represented by a team of 16 skiers, who competed against South Africa and Mauritius.
A number of individuals delivered impressive performances and the scores contributed to a final points total which placed Namibia second, closely behind South Africa.
For the first time in the All African Champs, a League category was created. This comprises of grassroots skiers and allows them to ski on a narrower course. Their scores were counted by the number of buoys they can ski around in four passes and was included in the final team score. Namibia was represented by seven Bambino skiers (aged between 7 and 13 years) who fought courageously and continued to improve their personal best performances.
Zandria van der Merwe from Namibia was the winner of the League division, while her team mate Olivia Hannam took the bronze.
In the under-14 age group, Luca Ahrens received a gold medal in tricks with 480 points and a silver medal in slalom with 2.5 buoys at 55 km/hr on 18.25 m rope.
2012 Namibian sportswoman of the year Natascha Röttcher was placed first in the individual women’s slalom, with an outstanding score of two buoys at 55 km/hr on a 12 meter line, which won her the title of All Africa women’s slalom champion.
Zaren Knight was placed second in slalom, with a score of one buoy at 55 km/hr on 13m line – setting a new Namibian slalom record for over-35 women.
With her score of 1270 points in tricks, Zaren was awarded the All African women’s trick champion.
In the men’s open division, Luke Schmidt won the gold in slalom with 3.5 buoys at 58 km/h on 13m, as well as the silver in tricks, with 1320 points,
Dieter Kebbel took the gold in tricks with 1720 points and silver in slalom with three buoys at 58 km/hr on a 13m line.
Jean-Paul Wehnert earned the bronze medal in the trick event.
The over-35 age category had the most competitors, since in the All African championship it includes the over-35, over-45 and over-55 athletes. The men’s slalom was won by South Africa’s Robbie Alexander with three buoys at 55 km/h on a 11.25 m line, setting a new All Africa Championships record.
From Namibia, in the slalom event, Ulf Zimmer came 8th, Nikolai Heger 10th and Gary Knight 12th position.
In the over-35 individual trick division, Nikolai Heger came second with 2190 points. He was also awarded the silver medal for the IWWF All Africa trick championship. Gary Knight came sixth with 1340 points.
The Namibia Water Ski Association has expressed its pride and congratulations to all these skiers.
The team of athletes was complemented by a very strong organizational and officials team.
Martin Schmidt and Bernd Kebbel, both Namibians, were the only two international boat drivers, meticulously towing 35 skiers for four rounds in both slalom and tricks. The international calculator, Conny Kebbel, and two national judges, Maika Eysselein and Isabel Zimmer, made a major contribution to the jury panel.
At the formal prize-giving ceremony, Martin Schmidt, president of the African Waterski Confederation, was awarded the IWWF medal for his years-long exceptional contribution to the sport on the continent.