Japanese sit skiers hit form ahead of Panorama 2015

On the final day of competitive action before the World Championships, Japanese and Russian skiers enjoy multiple podium positions. 28 Feb 2015
Morii Taiki, Kano Akira, Natsume Kenji

Gold medalist Taiki Morii celebrates with silver medalist Akira Kano and Kenji Natsume at the Noram Cup in Kimberley, Canada.

ⒸAlpine Canada

Japanese sit skiers showed they may be contenders for medals at the upcoming IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships with victories in the men’s and women’s super combined races on Thursday (26 February), the final day of the Noram Cup in Kimberley, Canada.

The World Championships open this Sunday (28 February) in Panorama, Canada, and Taiki Morii will go into them full of confidence after following up a downhill win on Wednesday with victory in super combined, an event he is the defending world champion in.

The 34-year-old (2:16.84) was fastest in the first super-G run and cemented his position at the top of the podium by finishing second in the slalom to finish ahead of teammate Akira Kano (2:18.47). The USA’s Tyler Walker (2:18.90) was third.

The women’s equivalent was won by Momoka Muraoka (2:41.10). Second was Australia’s Victoria Pendergast (2:44.58).

Another skier in great form is Russia’s Alexy Bugaev (2:13.59). After winning both Wednesday’s downhill races, the 17-year-old Paralympic champion in super combined topped an all Russian podium in the men’s standing. Alexander Vetrov (2:16.43) was second and teammate Alexander Alyabyev (2:16.48) third.

Russia also topped the podium in the men’s visually impaired race, where just 0.10 seconds separated the top three finishers. Helped by the fastest time in super-G, Ivan Frantsev and guide German Agranovskii (2:19.08) - world bronze medallists in super combined two years ago - held on for victory despite finishing third fastest in the slalom. In slalom, teammate Valerii Redkozubov (2:19.10) and guide Evgeny Geroev were more than a second faster than the whole field, helping them to secure second overall. Third was Slovakia’s Miroslav Haraus, guided by Maros Hudik (2:19.18).

The women’s visually impaired was won by Australia’s Melissa Perrine and guide Andrew Bor (2:34.05); the pair finishing ahead of the USA’s Danelle Umstead and guide Robert Umstead (2:47.58).

“All week the course was in good condition,” said Perrine. “I’m happy with the results and the opportunity to get more training and racing in speed as we lead into the World Champs next week.

“Kimberley Resort and the volunteers did a great job.”

The women’s standing was won by Slovakia’s Petra Smarzova (2:37.60) after she finished well ahead of Russia’s Mariia Papulova (2:40.30) in second and Canada’s Erin Latimer (2:40.61) in third.

Latimer commented: “I came into these races wanting to close the gap on the girls that I last competed against in Sochi. To come out on top of the podium in both downhill’s is a step in the right direction as I was behind them last year.

“I’m looking forward to the World Champs next week.”

Full results are available at: www.paralympic.org/alpine-skiing/calendar-and-results.

Panorama 2015 is expected to attract 130 skiers from 30 countries. Following the Opening Ceremony on 28 February, downhill will kick-off the action on 4 March.

A livestream will be available at www.Panorama2015.com alongside live results. Updates will be posted to Twitter.com/IPCAlpine, Facebook.com/IPCAlpineSkiing and Instagram @Paralympics.