Paralympic Winter Games
9-18 March

Anna Schaffelhuber wins season’s first Europa Cup race

Paralympic medallists Markus Salcher, Andrea Rothfuss and Valerii Redkozubov also finish on top of the podium in Pitztal, Austria. 15 Dec 2014
Anna Schaffelhuber

Germany's Anna Schaffelhuber has cemented herself as the world's top sit-skier at Sochi 2014.

ⒸGetty Images

Paralympic champion Germany’s Anna Schaffelhuber has started the 2014-15 Europa Cup season with a win in Pitztal, Austria, on Monday (15 December).

Schaffelhuber (2:15.74), a five-time Paralympic gold medallist at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, put on two impressive runs in the women’s giant slalom sitting to keep her rival Austria’s Claudia Loesch (2:23.10) at a distance throughout the race.

The 21-year-old showed that she will be the one to beat at the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Panorama, Canada, in March. Australia’s Victoria Pendergast (2:28.05) finished in third place.

Schaffelhuber’s teammate Andrea Rothfuss (2:13.75), a silver medallist from Sochi, dominated the women’s giant slalom standing in absence of Paralympic champion Marie Bochet of France. Switzerland’s young hopeful 17-year-old Bigna Schmidt (2:24.28) came in second, ahead of Russia’s Mariia Papulova (2:26.56).

In the women’s visually impaired race, another youngster topped the podium. Great Britain’s Millie Knight (2:25.02), 15 years of age, and her guide Jen Kehoe beat South Korea’s Jae Rim Yang (2:25.93) with her guide Soo Young Lee and Belgium’s Marie-Morgane Dessart (2:52.47) to take the win.

Austrian skiers demonstrated their strength on home snow with three further podium finishes in the men’s races.

Sochi 2014 bronze medallist Markus Salcher (2:07.45) finished first in the men’s giant slalom standing. Slovakia’s Martin France had to settle for silver, while Salcher’s compatriot Thomas Grochar finished third.

Roman Rabl (2:09.24) claimed the second win of the day for Austria. The 23-year-old recorded the quickest times in both runs to beat Germany’s Georg Kreiter (2:11.49) and Thomas Nolte (2:13.06) to second and third place respectively.

Russia’s Valerii Redkozubov and his guide Evgeny Geroev finished first in the men’s giant slalom visually impaired. The Paralympic bronze medallist at Sochi 2014 clocked the fastest times in both runs. Paralympic silver medallist Slovakia’s Jakub Krako with his guide Martin Motyka had to settle for second place, while Redkozubov’s teammate Ivan Frantsev and his guide German Agranovskii finished third.

More than 70 athletes from 15 countries have begun their European para-alpine ski season with two days of competition in Pitztal, Austria, which will continue with slalom races on Tuesday (16 December).

The highlight of the 2014-15 season will be the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Panorama, Canada, which will attract more than 130 athletes from 30 countries for the biggest gathering of alpine skiers since Sochi 2014.