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CSP Kicks off 2008 in Ecuador
Photos and Information Courtesy Mercenarios, Brasil
The CSP started its fourth season of South-American paintball tournaments with an event in Guayaquil, Ecuador running the weekend of March 7th through 9th. Adding new energy to the league for 2008 was the adoption of a new game format – 5-Man X-Ball. Series sponsors JT, Smart Parts, Sup'Air, DYE, Proto, Tippmann, Portal Paintball major sponsor Spyder were joined by new sponsors, KEE Action Sports and Gen-X Global, working to deliver even more impressive prize packages in the new year.
For the new year, Smart Parts expanded their support of the CBP with a commitment of staffing. Depending on their schedules, either Darryl Trent or Hans Semelsberger will be serving as ultimate judge at all of the season's tournaments. Darryl Trent started his paintball career in California, with a resume that includes playing for both the Ironmen and All Americans as well as coaching the Philly Americans to NXL world championships and serving as director of the DLX Technology Group. Hans Semelsberger is in charge of technical sales for Smart Parts, providing product training for dealers and players alike, and has earned his share of professional victories as a member of the All Americans. Both Trent and Semelsberger have a long experience serving as referees at all levels of paintball competition. Along with the ultimate judges came a set of referee jerseys with the colors and flag of Ecuador.
The captain of Team Monosalvaje, Edmundo Jordan, is the CSP organizer for Ecuador. He made the arrangements for the year's first event to be held at the Guayaquil National Club, on a neatly manicured grass soccer field. The National Club is more than soccer fields though, and, the players were able to make use of the swimming pool, hot-tub, sauna, restaurants, bars and playgrounds. As inviting as these amenities sound, the weekend weather did not cooperate, continuing heavy rains that had been drenching the region for the previous months.
Gearing up for the first games, Jordan and Hans Semelsberger made a guest appearance on a nationally broadcast live sports TV show, talking about paintball and the tournament. The following day Semelsberger delivered a technical presentation on Smart Parts products in the National Club's auditorium, followed by a referee training clinic. Jordan then led the captain's meeting. Closing the day's activities were a cocktail party for the players with a variety of tropical treats, making an fun-filled launch of the 2008 CSP season.
The tournament started in earnest on Saturday with the Amateur and Open classifying round, bringing out crews from several local television stations, taking interviews of players and promoters as well as catching action footage of the games. With professional guidance and the unified look of matching jerseys, the referees kept things in check, providing a day of games without major disputes.
Semelberger's Power-Point tech presentation wasn't the weekend's only slide-show. With non-stop rain, the wet fields had players sliding into bunkers and refs making field crossing belly-slides to quickly get into position for paint-checks. The resilient Sup'Air bunkers served as soft bumpers to stop many a player's slide between their wide spacing.
Gazzy from Zurikatas wowed the crowd with a show-stopping slide. Shortly after game-on, he ran straight to the flag, grabbed it on the run ans slid straight past four opposing players from Verdugo for a successful hang. By the time the Verdugos turned to fire, the game was already over, to wild cheers from the audience. That move earned Gazzu the tournament's “Animal Player Award.”
Saturday drew to a close with Mercenários leading the first round for the Open class, dropping only one against team Evolution, experimenting with a new strategy once they had secured their advancement to the finals.
Sunday was the big day – the finals. The competition literally doubled on Sunday, as the new round meant teams had to win not just one match, but two out of three to claim a victory.
In the Amateur division the finals show-down was between Zurikatas and Verdugos. Verdugos came away the champions with LPM and Swat finishing in third and fourth.
For the Open class finish, reporters staked out their positions on the sidelines, cameras wrapped in plastic to protect from the continued rains. Mercenários, Perupaintball and Evolution made brought heavy competition to the finals. Staggered scheduling meant that the winner was not revealed until the very last match. That game pitted Mercenários against Perupaintball. Both teams had lost a player out when the Mercenários had one player run out of air, and another lose his trigger spring. This left them with four players, but only two functional markers, facing off against the four guns of Perupaintball. Tony, the player with the missing spring started waving across the field, grabbing the attention of the Peruvians while the Mercenários two front players worked their way up and cleared the field for the win and tournament victory.
From Ecuador, the CSP headed to Aruba for event number two, with the series main tournament following in late May in Brazil.
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