“It feels really good. I can’t realise what I achieved at the moment. It’s really crazy”
The stakes were high for the super-G final at the 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Sella Nevea, Italy with the times also counting towards the result of the super combined race set to finish later in the day. The super-G counted for two races due to bad weather conditions expected on the original race day.
Three skiers extended their perfect winning streaks in the super-G – France’s Marie Bochet and Switzerland’s Theo Gmur in the standing classes, as well as the Dutch sit skier Jeroen Kampschreur.
Home hero Giacomo Bertagnolli and his guide Fabrizio Casal took a third consecutive gold at the Worlds to the delight of the Italian crowd.
Men’s standing – Theo’s green light
Theo Gmur has been on a roll at these World Championships, winning both of his races thus far, and coming into the super-G with palpable bravado. But in the first half of the super-G race, his momentum seemed to snap as he pulled over to the side next to a yellow flag.
The yellow flag denotes a particularly dangerous area and, according to the rules, the athlete who stops at a yellow flag qualifies for a re-run. Gmur made sure his second try was golden.
“It feels really good. I can’t realise what I achieved at the moment. It’s really crazy,” Gmur said of his golden streak.
France’s Arthur Bochet repeated his second place finish from the Tarvisio 2017 World Championships, while defending world champion Markus Salcher finished third.
Women’s standing – Marvellous Marie
France’s Marie Bochet made it four out of four with her victory in the super-G. The Paralympic champion is still undefeated at the 2019 Worlds, sweeping gold medals in the technical and speed events with big margins.
Andrea Rothfuss of Germany once again settled for being second to Bochet, while Canada’s Frederique Turgeon clinched a bronze to make up for her near miss the day before in downhill.
“I was very disappointed because I was so close to the podium, so today was kind of a redemption,” Turgeon said. “Being fourth is not so great. I used to say that being fourth is better than being very far away, but now maybe not. It was really the first time I lived it.”
Men’s sitting – Gaining speed
Technical specialist Jeroen Kampschreur made the most of the windy course, taking his second medal in the speed events where he is usually not a big contender.
The Dutch skier jumped from 13th place two years ago in Tarvisio to first place in Sella Nevea.
“This is another level. It’s awesome and with a really big advantage as well. I didn’t expect it,” Kampschreur said.
“This slope is technical. It’s really turny and the snow is different in every part of the course. It’s a lot of different things and I think the power of my skiing at this moment is adapting to those different circumstances.”
Canada’s Kurt Oatway took a silver in super-G to add to his silver in downhill, while Norway’s Jesper Pedersen got his first medal in a speed event at a major competition.
Women’s sitting – Shouting for Schaffelhuber
Coming off a gold run in downhill, Germany’s Anna Schaffelhuber struck gold again in super-G, thus improving on her second-place finish two years ago.
“It was very difficult because it was bumpy and I did not see a lot because of the snow coming down,” Schaffelhuber said.
Momoka Maraoka of Japan also moved up one place since Tarvisio, earning a silver, while USA’s Laurie Stephens was third.
Stephens was the Paralympic champion in the discipline at Turin 2006, but has struggled to reach the podium in super-G at a major competition until her bronze finish in Sella Nevea.
Men’s vision impaired – Golden Giacomo
It seemed that there was no stopping Giacomo Bertagnolli in his favourite discipline. The Italian skier and his guide Fabrizio Casal cruised to the finish line to cheers from the home crowd and started celebrating their third consecutive gold at the 2019 World Championships.
But when the final pair, Austria’s Josef Lahner and his guide Franz Erharter, pushed from the starting gate, their time was faster. Seconds from victory, however, Lahner missed the last gate, getting the pair disqualified from both super-G and super combined.
As Lahner dejectedly hit his sticks on the snow, Bertagnolli and Casal celebrated the win.
“We skied well and I’m happy,” Bertagnolli said. “I’m very happy because it’s the third gold at these World Championships so it’s good.”
The Slovakian pairs, Jakub Krako and Branislav Brozman, and Miroslav Haraus and Maros Hudik, finished second and third, respectively.
Women’s vision impaired – Menna the speed menace
With Paralympic champion Henrieta Farkasova out with an injury she sustained in the downhill race, the road was open for a new champion in super-G.
Downhill gold medallists Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe of Great Britain left nothing to chance, getting a top-notch run that assured them the gold.
“It’s a bit of nuts really,” Kehoe said. “We have not had a lot of practice together doing speed. We had some pretty disastrous runs in speed so to actually come and ski today really confidently and feel like we put in our best performance, that’s quite fantastic.”
The absence of their main rival Farkasova was high on their minds as they went into the last day of the World Championships, but holding back was not an option for the pair.
“We give it all every single run,” Fitzpatrick said. “We don’t really have a 90%. It’s always a 100%.”
Australia’s Melissa Perrine and her guide Bobbi Kelly finished second, while another British duo, Kelly Gallagher and Gary Smith, wrapped up the podium.
All results from the 2019 World Championships can be found on World Para Alpine Skiing website.