Water skier Sam Clark who was forced out of the World Water Ski Racing Championships with a broken ankle.

Broken ankle ends Uckfield water skier’s world title hopes

Uckfield water-skier Sam Clark was forced out of the World Water Ski Racing Championships with a broken ankle after a fall.

The 21-year-old saw her world title bid end prematurely and disappointingly when she fell badly in the second of four races in Vichy, France.

Third position

She was in third position overall when she fell near the end of the 45-minute race.

The conditions on the River Allier, which runs through the centre of Vichy were mixed, with one end very fast and the other with concrete walls and a weir combining to create waves up to two metres tall.

water-skier-observer-steve-young-sam-clark-gary-clark

Sam Clark pictured with her observer Steve Young, and driver – and father – Gary Clark.

In Race 1 Sam was drawn in pole position on the starting grid but after a dreadful start found herself the last away out of approximately 30 of the world’s best lady skiers.

Encouragingly she worked her way up to sixth place by the end in her Ladies’ Open category.

Race 2 started very differently with Sam making a good start off the second grid and reaching speeds over 80mph down the first straight.

For the first 40 minutes Sam raced side-by-side with Australian skier Melanie Gretch who was behind a much heavier and more powerful boat.

Third place

When the leading Austrian skier’s boat stopped with fuel pump failure, and with the second-placed Australian in the water Sam had just moved up into third place when she fell and that was the end of the championships for her.

Sam, who lives in Hunters Way and attended Uckfield College, works in digital marketing and customer service for a Haywards Heath company.

Her father Gary drives the boat for Sam in her races and her current observer is Steve Young, vastly experienced with a number of teams and skiers including both men’s and women’s world champions.

Same ankle

Gary told Uckfield News: “Unfortunately Sam badly broke the same ankle while leading the last race of 2018 in Cardiff Bay. After an operation, months of rehabilitation and physiotherapy she spent this season working her way back into form to hopefully peak at the Worlds in Vichy.

“Now she has broken the other side of the same ankle, but, although it’s not thought to be as bad, the damage is still being fully assessed and we’re assuming she will need an extended recovery period.”

He added that, with the exception of an open race in Tenerife – which Sam has won before, the next British races will start in May or June next year.

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