Busy Winter Sport Weekend Ahead for Paralympic Athletes

21 Dec 2009 By IPC

A busy winter sport weekend has just finished with competitions in Alpine Skiing, Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing. An IPC Alpine Skiing European Cup took place in Kühtai, Austria, an IPC Alpine Skiing North American Cup was held in Winter Park, USA, and the first IPC Biathlon & Cross-Country Skiing World Cup of the season finished in Sjusjoen, Norway.

German athletes dominated the Biathlon 12.5km race in the visually impaired category. Verena Bentele proved her exceptional talent by finishing first in the Women’s race, being the only one not to miss a shot. Her compatriot Wilhelm Brem won the Men’s race with one missed shot and a time of 45:30.1. Bentele also won the Biathlon Pursuit, while Brem was overtaken by Ukrainian Vitaliy Lukyanenko and Russian Evgeniy Safronov to take third place in the Biathlon Pursuit.

Ukrainian Grygorii Vovchynskyi won the Men’s standing Biathlon 12.5km race. In the Biathlon Pursuit, Vovchynkyi finished second behind Germany’s Josef Giesen. Alena Gorbunova from Russia took home the win in the Women’s standing Biathlon 12.5km race. Her compatriot Anna Burmistrova won the Biathlon Pursuit in this category.

With only one missed shot and the fastest time on the slope, Irek Zaripov from Russia finished first in the Men’s sitting Biathlon 12.5km race. He took another podium in the Biathlon Pursuit by taking second place. Andrew Soule (USA) won this race, which was his first ever IPC Biathlon World Cup victory. Ukrainian athletes could not be beaten in the Women’s sitting Biathlon races. The 10km race was won by Olena Iurkovska, the Biathlon Pursuit was won by Lyudmyla Pavlenko. In both races the first five places were taken by athletes from the Ukraine.

The IPC Alpine Skiing season continued in Kühtai, Austria with a European Cup. A total of 130 athletes from 20 different countries came to Kühtai to compete in two Slalom races and one Giant Slalom.

Austrian Claudia Loesch took home three victories in the Women’s sitting category, winning both Slaloms and the Giant Slalom. Her compatriot Sabine Gasteiger won the Giant Slalom and the first Slalom in the Women’s visually impaired category. The second Slalom was won by Henrieta Farkasova from Slovakia. Canadian Lauren Woolstencroft dominated the Women’s standing category by winning the Slalom on 17 December and the Giant Slalom on 18 December. Marie Bochet from France won the Slalom on 19 December.

Radomir Dudas (SVK), who had already won all races at the IPC Alpine Skiing European Cup in Pitztal, again left his competitors no chance and took home first place in the Men’s visually impaired Slalom on 17 December. The Giant Slalom and the second Slalom in this category was won by Canadian Chris Williamson. The Men’s standing category saw three different winners for all three races. Vincent Gauthier-Manuel from France finished first in the first Slalom, Thomas Pfyl from Switzerland won the Giant Slalom and German Gerd Schoenfelder took first place in the second Slalom. His compatriot Martin Braxenthaler won the two Slalom races in the Men’s sitting category, while Jean Yves Le Meur finished first in the Giant Slalom of this category.

Athletes from USA and Australia dominated the IPC North American Cup races in Winter Park, USA. US athletes took home five gold medals in the Super G taking place on 17 December. Danelle Umstead won the Women’s visually impaired category, her compatriot Allison Jones dominated the Women’s standing category while Laurie Stephens finished first in the Women’s sitting category. Mark Bathum won the Men’s visually impaired category and Tyler Walker took home first place in the Men’s sitting category. The Men’s standing category was the only one where no US athlete stood on the podium. Toby Kane from Australia finished first followed by Australians Cameron Rahles-Rahbula and Mitchel Gourley on second and third place respectively.