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Sochi 2014

Zdenek Krupicka

Zdenek Krupicka

Russia’s 16-year-old Alexey Bugaev wins third medal

The teenaged Russian skier delighted home crowds with a consistent performance, in challenging conditions.

Alexey Bugaev passes a slalom pole in a race in a tilted position Russia's Alexey Bugaev competes in the men's slalom standing on Day 6 of Sochi 2014. © • Getty Images
By IPC

“The slope is very steep and bumpy at the top. So I adapted my technique on a case-by-case basis depending on the conditions. It feels great to win.”

Despite showing obvious signs of fatigue and in difficult course conditions, Russia’s Alexey Bugaev managed to clinch gold in the men’s slalom standing race on Thursday (13 March) in 1:38.97, adding to the downhill silver and super-G bronze he already won at Sochi 2014.

Light rain and slushy conditions, combined with a very steep start, made for a very challenging course.

“I did my best and it wasn’t really easy,” the 16-year-old admitted.

“The second run was much more difficult for me than the first. I was tired and all this pressure made me so nervous.”

His teammate Alexander Alyabyev (1:30.74) won bronze. France’s Vincent Gauthier-Manuel, the reigning world champion, was just half a second ahead, to take silver.

“Bugaev is amazing,” said Gauthier-Manuel. “He is very strong when he is supported by the public like that.

“He reminds me a bit of myself when I was the same age. He arrived here like an outsider and he hid his game well.

“Now I’m going to do everything to beat him in giant slalom.”

In the visually impaired class, Valerii Redkozubov guided by Evgeny Geroev delighted home crowds with gold, having led from the first run. The bronze medallist from the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships had a decisive victory, finishing in 1:43.21 - 3.61 seconds ahead of silver medallists Jon Santacana Maiztegui guided by Miguel Galindo Garces.

“There’s a tornado inside of me full of positive emotions,” Redkozubov said. “We have worked really hard for this. It was a very long, traumatic road that required much strength and hard work.

“One thing that helped us to win is the home support. I hope that something will change. Many people have read and seen about the Paralympic Games on TV and in the media.

“Hopefully it will change perceptions of people with an impairment.”

Santacana Maiztegui was seventh after the first run, but pulled out all the stops to take silver. The Spaniard has been fighting off a cold the past few days, and is recovering from an injury six months earlier in the season.

“I am not 100 per cent. Sometimes I’m in pain,” he said, before smiling and adding, “but now I’m not in pain.”

Canada’s Chris Williamson guided by Nick Brush picked up bronze in 1:48.51. Vancouver 2010 gold medallist Jakub Krako of Slovakia was in second place after the first run, but did not finish the second, after missing a gate.

After the first run, Croatia’s Dion Sokolovic, who had his first IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup win earlier this year in St. Moritz, Switzerland, was leading the men’s sitting event by a comfortable 1.61 seconds. But a lapse in concentration cost him his second run, allowing Japan’s Takeshi Suzuki to steal gold in 1:53.78.

“The slope is very steep and bumpy at the top,” said Suzuki. “So I adapted my technique on a case-by-case basis depending on the conditions. It feels great to win.”

World champion and bronze medallist from Vancouver, Philipp Bonadimann of Austria took silver in 1:56.46. His teammate Roman Rabl pulled out all the stops, to power his way to bronze in 1:56.64, after a fifth-placed first run.

Germany leads the alpine skiing medals table with four golds, and Russia are now in second place with three golds and Japan in third.

Alexey Bugaev

Alexey Bugaev

USA beat top-seeded Canada, advance to play Russia for gold

The defending Paralympic champions will now take on the host nation for ice sledge hockey gold in Sochi.

Declan Farmer Declan Farmer celebrates after scoring a goal against Canada in the ice sledge hockey semi-finals at Sochi 2014. © • Getty Images
By Ryan McKenna | For the IPC

The USA will now have a chance to defend their Paralympic gold medal from Vancouver 2010 and could be the first-ever nation to repeat as champions.

The gold-medal game in ice sledge hockey at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games is set, with No. 2 USA facing host nation No. 3 Russia after both teams won their semi-final games on Thursday (13 March) at Shayba Arena.

On the strength of a three-point performance by 16-year-old Declan Farmer, the USA ousted rival and world champions Canada, 3-0, on Day 6 of the Games.

“I would say it’s fair to say that he’s (Farmer) really just an unbelievable hockey player both ways, both offensively and defensively,” USA captain Andy Yohe said. “He’s amazing to practice against and he’s just such a great kid that he’s going to be maybe the greatest ... by PyeongChang (2018). I wouldn’t want to play against him, I’ll tell you that much.”

The USA will now have a chance to defend their Paralympic gold medal from Vancouver 2010 and could be the first-ever nation to repeat as champions.

Farmer got the scoring started for the USA at the 9:12 mark of the first period when he got a shot past Canadian goaltender Corbin Watson.

"I saw a lane. I think either Brody (Roybal) or Josh (Pauls) drove the net. I was just trying to be as patient as I could to wait for a shooting lane and I was lucky enough to get it through Watson."

Five minutes later it was Farmer again, this time launching a shot from the face-off circle to the right of Watson and to push the lead to 2-0 before the first intermission. Just moments before that, Canada’s Billy Bridges went in on a breakaway and missed before USA came back the other way and scored.

“I mean I wouldn’t like to think that was the (momentum shift), but … it’s a two goal swing at that point,” Bridges said. “The goal on my stick comes back around and they score so all of a sudden instead of being up one, we’re down one and it’s tough to come back from but we knew as a team that we had to score one of two any, way and so we just couldn’t do it.”

Almost five minutes into the second period, Josh Pauls banged one home in front of the net to put the USA up 3-0. Farmer would assist on the goal and finish the night with three points.

That would be all the offence that the USA would need as they played steady defence in the third period to hang on for the win.

Russia scored twice in the first period and dominated throughout to book their ticket to Saturday’s (15 March) big game with a 4-0 win over Norway in the other semi-final.

"Four years ago, when the guys got into the sledge, when they had the sticks and pucks in their hands, it was Vadim Selyukin who told me, 'We will do everything we can. We will play at our best and be very hard-working guys,’” head coach Sergey Samoylov said.

"He told me, 'We will compete at the Winter Paralympics, not just as hosts, we are going to do much more. We are going to win. We are going to win a medal.’"

Russia started their scoring almost six minutes into the game when captain Dmitry Lisov got the Russian faithful at Shayba on their feet scoring to make it 1-0.

Just before the period ended, Russia’s Alexey Amosov would get a nice pass in front of the net and would not make a mistake, putting Russia up 2-0 before the end of the period.

The second period was a lot quieter but Russia still outshot Norway 6-2.

Four minutes into the third period, 17-year-old Nikolay Terentyev scored his first ever Paralympic goal to put the host nation up 3-0.

Russia would add an empty-net goal to finish out the scoring. Vladimir Kamantcev made six saves for his second shutout at Sochi 2014.

"We were not expecting a bronze,” Lisov said. “We expected not to perform worse than before. But after the loss to Korea we thought that even a bronze would be great. However, after today's game and the one against USA, our appetite is growing.”

China, Great Britain advance to wheelchair curling semi-finals

The two teams will join Russia and Canada as they try to earn a medal at Sochi 2014.

Haitao Wang China's Haitao Wang competes in a wheelchair curling round robin session at Sochi 2014. © • Getty Images
By World Curling

Russia will play Great Britain in the one semi-final, while Canada will play China in the other semi-final on Saturday (15 March).

China and Great Britain joined Russia and Canada in qualifying for the semi-finals following the lastl day of round-robin play in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games wheelchair curling competition.

The semi-finals were decided following Thursday’s (13 March) final session of round-robin play, the two most significant results being Russia’s win against Slovakia and China’s victory over Great Britain.

Those results guaranteed the top four teams in the standings were Russia in first position; Canada second; China in third and Great Britain fourth.

As a result, Russia will play Great Britain in the one semi-final, while Canada will play China in the other semi-final on Saturday (15 March).

China, skipped by Haitao Wang, created their own history today as they became the first Chinese team to reach the semi-finals of the Paralympic Winter Games wheelchair curling competition, having only made their debut in the competition this year.

Their game against Great Britain was tight until Great Britain missed two take-out shots in the fourth end to give China skip Haitao Wang the opportunity to draw into an open house to score three points and take a 5-1 lead.

China then stole another point in the fifth end and although Great Britain picked up two points in the sixth and seventh ends, they conceded after seven ends of play with the final score 6-3.

Afterwards, China skip Haitao Wang looked towards the semi-finals. He said: “We are much more excited now. Not as nervous, but excited. We were more nervous today than we were yesterday, but we are excited now because we are in the semi-finals."

On reaching the semi-finals, Great Britain skip Aileen Neilson said: “It's really exciting. When we started the round-robin, our aim was to get through to the play-offs and we've managed to win enough games to do that, so we are absolutely delighted.”

Russia guaranteed China and Great Britain’s place in the semi-finals by defeating Slovakia, who were still chasing a semi-final spot of their own, winning 7-4.

On the back of an earlier record win, against Slovakia, Canada lost their final game of the round-robin to Finland, 12-1.

Sweden, meanwhile, finished off their round-robin campaign with a 13-3 win against South Korea, and earlier in the day beat Norway 11-1 and Canada defeated Slovakia 16-0.

The two other morning session games were a lot closer, with only one point splitting the teams.

Great Britain staged a late comeback against USA as they defeated them after an extra end.

Although USA were up 5-1 at the fourth end break, the key turning point for Great Britain came in the seventh end.

USA missed six shots in a row which gave Great Britain skip Aileen Neilson an open draw into the house to score five points and take a 7-6 lead.

After levelling the game in the eighth end with one point, USA skip Patrick McDonald was heavy with his last stone in the extra end which handed Great Britain their 8-7 victory.

South Korea meanwhile played out a tight game against Finland, only drawing level at 5-5 after six ends.

Korea then won the game in the eighth and final end when skip Jong-Pan Kim made a draw through a port to the four foot ring to score two points and win by 7-6.

The semi-finals begin at 9:30 (MSK) on Saturday followed by the medal games which will be played at 15:30 (MSK).

Standings

1. Russia 8-1 (to play Great Britain in 1v4 semi-final)

2. Canada 7-2 (to play China in 2v3 semi-final)

3. China 5-4 (to play Canada in 2v3 semi-final)

4. Great Britain 5-4 (to play Russia in 1v4 semi-final)

5. USA 4-5

6. Slovakia 4-5

7. Sweden 4-5

8. Norway 3-6

9. Korea 3-6

10. Finland 2-7

Declan Farmer

Declan Farmer

Italian ice sledge hockey player suspended for 18 months for anti-doping rule violation at Sochi 2014

Anti-Doping London image The IPC will continue to educate athletes and their support staff on the importance of anti-doping. © • Getty Images
By IPC

All results obtained from 4 March 2014, the date of the test and onwards, will be disqualified with all the resulting consequences including forfeiture of any medals, points, records and prizes.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that Italian ice sledge hockey player Igor Stella has been suspended for 18 months and fined EUR 1,125 for an Anti-Doping Rule violation committed at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Stella returned an adverse analytical finding for clostebol metabolite 4-chloro-4-androstene-3a-ol-17-one in an out of competition urine sample provided on 4 March, three days prior to the start of the Winter Games.

This substance is classified as S1.1A Exogenous AAS/clostebol (Prohibited Substance) on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) 2013 Prohibited List and is prohibited both in and out of competition. The Prohibited Substance is not a "specified substance" on the Prohibited List.

In accordance with the IPC Anti-Doping Code, and with the IPC also being the International Federation for the sport of ice sledge hockey, Stella will serve an 18 month suspension for the offence beginning on 4 March 2014; the date of sample collection. The reduced sanction acknowledges that the athlete knows how the substance entered his system and that the Hearing Panel accepts it was not to enhance his performance.

All results obtained from 4 March 2014, the date of the test and onwards, will be disqualified with all the resulting consequences including forfeiture of any medals, points, records and prizes.

The principle of strict liability applies to anti-doping matters. Therefore, each athlete is strictly liable for the substances found in his or her sample, and that an anti-doping rule violation occurs whenever a prohibited substance (or its metabolites or markers) is found in his or her bodily specimen, whether or not the athlete intentionally or unintentionally used a prohibited substance or was negligent or otherwise at fault.

As a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC), the IPC remains committed to a doping free sporting environment at all levels. The IPC, together with the International Federations and the National Paralympic Committees, established the IPC Anti-Doping Code to prevent doping in sport for Paralympic athletes, in the spirit of fair play. The IPC Anti-Doping Code is in conformity with the general principles of the WADC.

Marie Bochet looks to get back on track in super-combined

The super-G portion of the women's super-combined races across all classes will take place on Day 7 at Sochi 2014.

Marie Bochet France's Marie Bochet competes in the women's super-combined slalom portion at Sochi 2014. © • Getty Images
By Justin A. Rice | For the IPC

“We were first and foremost preparing for super-G, so it is not so difficult to switch to super-combined.”

After topping the leaderboard following the slalom portion of the super-combined on Tuesday (11 March), France’s Marie Bochet stumbled for the first time at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics in the women’s slalom standing race on Wednesday (12 March) — dashing her hopes of sweeping all five alpine events.

The 20-year-old, who has already won gold in downhill and super-G, looks to get back on track in the super-G portion of the super-combined at 14:00 (MSK) on Friday (14 March) at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre.

"Today I didn't have the level; other athletes did,” Bochet said on Wednesday. “Now I have to focus on the super-G of the super combined and to the giant slalom. … I feel a bit down now. It is going to be hard to swallow, but I don't want to worry too much. I still have two events to come.”

The slalom section of the women’s super-combined was run ahead of the super-G section of the race on Tuesday due to weather conditions, which also pushed the super-G section to Friday.

“We were first and foremost preparing for super-G, so it is not so difficult to switch to super-combined,” said USA’s Stephanie Jallen, who sits is in third place in the super combined standing class with a time of 57.98. “Super-combined is never an easy run. It's a battle getting down."

Bochet’s fall in the slalom allowed her chief rival, Andea Rothfuss of Germany, to win he fist Paralympic gold medal in a race that was moved to Wednesday because of the weather.

The 24-year-old is also in second place in the super combined standings after posting a 55.86 in the slalom portion of the event on Tuesday.

In the women’s super-combined visually impaired class, Russia’s Aleksandra Frantceva (58.68) is in first while Great Britain’s Jade Etherington (1:01.80) is in second and the USA’s Danelle Umstead (1:08.48) is in third.

Germany’s Anna Schafflhubber is first in the women’s super-combined sitting standings with a time of 1:00.73 in the slalom portion while teammate Anna-Lena Forster (1:01.4) is second and Austria’s Claudia Loesch (1:05.12) is third.

In the men’s super-combined sitting standings Austria’s Roman Rabl is holding strong atop the leaderboard with a time of 58.71. Germany’s Thomas Nolte is in second with a time of 59.25 and Austria’s Philipp Bonadimanni is in third, having clocked a 59.42.

On the men’s super-combined standing leaderboard, Russia’s Alexey Burgaev is in first with a slalom time of 50.30 while Canada’s Braydon Luscombe stands in second with a time of 52.17 and Austria’s Matthias Lanzinger is in third after logging a 52.43.

Valerii Redkozubov set the groundwork for a podium position on Friday’s final race of the men’s super-combined slalom visually impaired class by clocking a time of 50.60, ahead of Slovakia’s Miroslav Haraus (54.29) and Spain’s Gabriel Jaun Gorce Yepes (56.22).

"It is the first time something like that happened to me,” Gorce Yepes said of the break between the first and second components of the super combined. “I like it, because now I can just forget my performance in the slalom, and then have time to focus on the super-G."

Mikhalina Lysova, Roman Petushkov aiming for more biathlon medals

The long-distance biathlon events across all classes will take place on Day 7 of Sochi 2014.

Mikhalina Lysova Mikhalina Lysova of Russia and her guide Alexey Ivanov celebrate after winning gold in the women's 1km visually impaired cross-country sprint on Day 5 at Sochi 2014. © • Getty Images
By IPC

The Russians have already taken 19 medals in the first two days of biathlon – eight of them gold – and Mikhalina Lysova and Roman Petushkov heavily favoured in their events.

After a day off, the Sochi 2014 Nordic skiing competition will resume at 10:00 (MSK) on Friday (14 March) with the long-distance biathlon events, where the host nation will look to continue their dominance in the sport.

The Russians have already taken 19 medals in the first two days of biathlon – eight of them gold – and Mikhalina Lysova and Roman Petushkov heavily favoured in their events.

In the women’s 12.5km visually impaired race, Lysova will be seeking her third gold of Sochi 2014, with her toughest competition expected to come from teammate Iuliia Budaleeva and Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova. Lysova, guided by Alexey Ivanov, is a two-time defending world champion in the event.

"I can't promise that I will continue winning like that, but I will certainly try,” Lysova said after winning the 10km distance earlier in the week.

Petushkov has already won four golds at these Games, making him the biggest individual medal winner at Sochi 2014. On Friday, he will be challenged in the men’s 15km sitting by the event’s world champion Kozo Kubo of Japan and another teammate, Grigory Murygin.

With two Sochi 2014 golds already in her pocket, Russia’s Alena Kaufman is a firm favourite entering the women’s 12.5km standing event. She will go up against Ukrainians Oleksandra Kononova and Iryna Bui, as well as Finland’s Maija Jarvela.

The women’s 12.5km sitting event is expected to be a three-horse race between Germany’s Andrea Eskau and Anja Wicker and Russia’s Svetlana Konovalova. Eskau heads into the race with two golds and a silver already around her neck from Sochi.

After taking bronze in the 7.5km standing, 18-year-old Azat Karachurin returned to top form in the 12.5km to take gold and is hoping to end his Sochi campaign on a high in the men’s 15km standing event. Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset and Canada’s Mark Arendz are expected to be his toughest challengers.

In the men’s 15km visually impaired event, the rivalry between Russia’s Nikolay Polukhin – guided by Andrey Tokarev – and Ukraine’s Vitaliy Lukyanenko – guided by Borys Babar – is expected to be played out in full.

Haitao Wang

Haitao Wang