SOUTHEAST Asian Games double bronze medalist Samantha Bermudez heads a crack roster of 22 Filipino riders slugging it out with the world’s best in the 2012 World Cable Wakeboard Championships, which got under way on Tuesday at the Deca Cable Wakeboard Park in Clark, Angeles City, Pampanga.
Ranged against an elite field, the local bets vowed to dish out their best and pull off some surprises while looking forward to gaining a wealth of experience in the six-day event featuring some 170 foreign bets from 32 countries.
The field includes world champions Nick Davies and Kirsteen Mitchell of Britain, and Tokyo Cup winners Angelika Shriber of Austria and Frederic von Osten of Germany.
"With the worlds being held here, the whole team will be more motivated to ride hard, represent the country well, do our best and you know, have fun," said Bermudez, seventh placer in the recent World Cup in Japan who will carry the fight for the hosts in the centerpiece women's Open.
Bermudez joined the presidential table during the pre-competition press conference along with International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation president Kuno Ritschard, council chairman Varna Laco, Wakeboard and Waterski Association of the Philippines president J.V. Borromeo, Deca Homes president J.J. Atencio, and Department of Tourism director Ronnie Tiotuico.
Phl team captain Carlo dela Torre as well as Borromeo said the event is a big boost to local wakeboard community and a good learning experience for the Filipino riders.
"The biggest thing we can take from this is just the pure experience and learning from the other countries that's had the headstart," said de la Torre.
He also expects a solid showing in the younger divisions although he stressed that it would be an uphill battle in the Open categories.
The Int. 6 Star Event (1000 points) kicked off Tuesday with the qualifications in the girls', boys', junior ladies, junior men, veteran men, master men and master ladies categories.
Bermudez will see action Wednesday in the qualifications of the open women's play while dela Torre and Co. will start their bid in the open men's qualifications on Thursday.