International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
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International Paralympic Committee (IPC)

Competition Fierce in Giant Slalom

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing World Cup continued from 7-8 March with over 90 athletes from 16 countries battling it out in two Giant Slalom events at Winter Park, Colorado in USA. No single team dominated the event, with USA, Slovakia, Russia, Germany and Switzerland all winning two golds apiece, showing the level of competition is at an all-time high.

Perhaps the toughest fought event was the men’s Giant Slalom Standing, which saw five skiers atop the podium in two events. Australia’s Mitch Gourley finished the first race with a comfortable 3.76-second lead ahead of Switzerland’s Thomas Pfyl and Russia’s Alexandr Alyabyev, who came third.

In the second race, France’s Vincent Gauthier-Manuel, pushed up from fifth place to take gold, leaving Gourley with silver. Pfyl finished seventh, while Alyabyev clung onto a second bronze.

In the women’s Giant Slalom Visually Impaired, Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova and Russia’s Alexandra Frantseva thrashed it out for the top podium spot. In the end, both won a gold and silver, but Frantseva now leads the overall World Cup rankings. USA’s Danelle Umstead came in third in the first race and her teammate Lindsay Ball claimed bronze in the second run.

The men’s Giant Slalom Visually Impaired was also a battle between Slovakia and Russia, which ended in a draw with both Russia’s Valery Redkozubov and Slovakia’s Miroslav Haraus taking a gold and silver each. Redkozubov leads the World Cup rankings, with Haraus second and Spain’s Yon Santacana Maiztegui third overall.

Germany’s two golds were won by Andrea Rothfuss, who dominated the women’s Giant Slalom Standing, though her competitors were hot on her heels. On the first run, Rothfuss finished just 0.07 seconds ahead of France’s Marie Bochet. In the second race, Bochet had a disappointing run, finishing fourth. Slovakia’s Petra Smarzova, who finished third on the first run, moved up to take silver and Italy’s Melania Corradini took bronze.

USA’s Alana Nichols owned the podium in the women’s Giant Slalom Sitting, bagging two gold medals with a comfortable lead ahead of her teammate Laurie Stephens, who took two silvers. Germany’s Anna Schaffelhuber came third in both races. Stephens still tops the World Cup rankings, with Schaffelhuber second and Nichols third overall.

In the men’s Giant Slalom Sitting, it was Switzerland’s Christoph Kunz who blew his competition away to take gold in both races. USA’s Heath Calhoun took silver in the first race, but finished fourth in the second. This allowed France’s Cyril More to move up from third to second and Germany’s Georg Kreiter to take bronze. Japan’s Taiki Morii, who shined in the European leg of the World Cup in January, failed to medal in Winter Park.

The IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup continues on 9 March with the Slalom.

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