Silvio Chiha: The Passion for Water Sports
25 years old Silvio Chiha is an internationally known water skier. This multi talented athlete who won the Asian Games three times also competed wake boarding, sailing, alpine skiing, in judo and mixed martial arts. His passion for sports took him around the world where he defeated the best international athletes. Silvio will take part Lebanon Water Festival for the first time this year, where he will perform in the waterski show.
How did you start practicing water skiing and what attracted you in water sports?
I spent my whole life on the sea with my father, mother and sister. In my family, water sports are in our blood. My father Alecco Chiha started at a young age to train in waterskiing with Simon Khoury. He was passionate about this sport and transferred his passion to me. He put me on skis when I was two years old and would pull me on the sand so that I practice my balance. I quit for a year when I was a child because I swallowed too much water and became afraid of the water. I started slalom water skiing when I was 12 or 13 years old. I finished last at my first competition.
I have challenged Simon Khoury, who is now 85 years old and a former world champion, to ski with me this year.
How do you train in water skiing?
I cannot train in Lebanon because we don’t have good “plan d’eau”, so I have to train intensively when I travel. I try to travel every two months. I go to Greece or Dubai for example, where I train with Europeans.
Where does your passion for water sports come from?
My passion really started to grow when I started winning. But I guess sports allow me to forget about myself.
I started a project, with the help of the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism, which allows me to ski in different regions of Lebanon. The goal is to showcase the country’s beautiful regions and promote them to tourists and Lebanese people. I went to Chouwen, Enfeh, Saida, etc. Lebanon is small and it’s easy to access those regions. Unfortunately, Lebanese people stay in their city. They don’t see the real beauty of their country.
What is the most difficult sport you have practiced?
All sports are difficult when you practice them at a high level. There is always someone who will push his limits further than you. I like to compete in every sport I practice.
What obstacles do athletes face in Lebanon?
It’s very difficult to get funding in Lebanon. However, I wish the government helped us more by giving us permission when we want to ski in a new place.
Initiatives like the Lebanon Water Festival are very important for athletes, the Lebanese youth and tourism. Lebanon has always been known for waterskiing. There have always been Lebanese waterski champion. Why did it stop? Why wouldn’t we make Lebanon what it used to be?
What are the best places to waterski in Lebanon?
The Faraya-Chabrouh Dam and florida Beach in Chekka, because the water is always flat.