Three-time Paralympic medallist Anna-Lena Forster secured her first win of the 2017/18 season in the women’s slalom sitting on the third day (21 December) of competition at the first World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup in Kuhtai, Austria.
After ending second and third in the giant slalom races over the past two days, Germany’s 22-year-old achieved her maiden victory with an overall time of 1:54.02.
"I am happy about my victory. The performance was okay," said Forster. "I am very excited about tomorrow´s race as more skiers will compete."
Compatriot Anna Schaffelhuber (1:59.97) and Austria’s Claudia Loesch (2:16.54), who has so far won two golds in Kuhtai, completed the top three.
Two other skiers also sealed their first triumph of the season in slalom events.
Australia’s two-time Paralympian Melissa Perrine (1:54.26), guided by Christian Geiger, won the women’s visually impaired. Her last slalom World Cup victory had been in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in December 2016.
"It feels pretty good, we managed to get two solid runs. We focused on keeping a solid and consistent pace, just trying to replicate what we were doing in training," said Perrine.
British athletes followed as Menna Fitzpatrick (2:00.49) and guide Jennifer Kehoe, and Millie Knight (2:05.69), guided by Brett Wild, ended second and third, respectively.
There was a Slovakian 1-2 in the men’s equivalent as Miroslav Haraus (1:39.50) and guide Maros Hudik skied to their first victory of the season ahead of teammate and four-time Paralympic champion Jakub Krako (1:43.90), guided by Branislav Brozman.
Neutral athlete Ivan Frantsev (1:48.90) and guide Denis Perevozchikov collected bronze.
Norway's Jesper Pedersen (1:43.43) extended his winning streak with victory in the men’s sitting. The 18-year-old, who had never finished first at a single World Cup race until this season, has so far dominated his category with three wins in Kuhtai.
"Slalom is always fun. It was a tough race, good conditions and everything was good," said Pedersen. "I just focused on my tasks, talked to my coaches between the runs and it went good."
Japan's Takeshi Suzuki (1:46.41) sealed silver and Croatia’s Dino Sokolovic (1:47.25) bronze.
Marie Bochet has been unstoppable in the women’s standing, winning her third race at the season´s first World Cup after clocking 1:51.92. France’s four-time Sochi 2014 champion was the fastest in both runs with times of 54.13 and 57.79.
Germany's Anna-Maria Rieder (1:57.86) and Canada’s Alana Ramsay (2:00.40) rounded off the podium.
Neutral skier Aleksei Bugaev (1:37.93) finished first in the men’s equivalent, adding a second gold to his haul in Kuhtai. USA’s Thomas Walsh (2:01.48) and Switzerland’s Thomas Pfyl (2:02.59) ended with silver and bronze, respectively.
Competitions in Kuhtai will end on Friday (22 December) with slalom races across all categories.
Live stream, highlights and complete live results are available for the first time on a dedicated World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup website.
Broadcasters and news agencies interested in the 2018 World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup footage and interviews can contact Alexis Vapaille.