“I am just going for the best result and hope that I can leave a double World Champion. I will do my best and hopefully it will turn out great.”
On Saturday (28 February) 42 riders from 18 countries will compete in the new banked slalom discipline on the final day of the IPC Para-Snowboard World Championships in La Molina, Spain.
In the biggest gathering of riders since para-snowboard made its debut at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, athletes have already taken part in the new head-to-head snowboard cross event medal events which were decided on Tuesday (24 February).
Banked slalom has been added as a new discipline this season and features athletes in two impairment groups who will compete separately (lower-limb and upper-limb) in individual timed runs. Each rider is given three runs of a slalom course and the combined time of their two fastest runs counting as the final result. The slalom gates are set in either natural banking terrain, or in this case man-made berms, with riders required to make tight radius turns.
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1
The Netherlands’ Chris Vos hopes to finish the IPC Para-Snowboard World Championships as a double world champion after finishing on top of the podium in the snowboard cross event. Vos, who took a win on home soil in the first ever banked slalom races at the IPC Alpine Skiing Europa Cup in Landgraaf, said: “I am just going for the best result and hope that I can leave a double World Champion. I will do my best and hopefully it will turn out great.”
Vos will face stiff competition from Italy’s Giuseppe Comunale and Denmark’s Daniel Jorgensen who, respectively, finished in silver and bronze positions behind Vos at the last banked slalom world cup in Big White, Canada.
Women's Snowboard Cross SB-LL1
France’s Cecile Hernandez-Cervellon will be hoping to overturn the disappointment of the snowboard cross event from earlier in the week, which saw her defeated for the first time this year. Hernandez-Cervellon was forced into silver position by the USA’s Brenna Huckaby, with fellow American Nicole Roundy completing the podium in bronze medal position.
It is likely to be these three athletes will contend for the podium spots again on Saturday.
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-LL2
Team USA’s Evan Strong will hope to take revenge on Finland’s Matti Suur-Hamari who earlier this week beat the Sochi 2014 Paralympic champion in the head-to-head final of the snowboard cross, forcing the American to settle for silver.
But the Fin will not be rolling over and has ambitions to stand on top of the podium for the second time this week: “I’m really confident going into the banked slalom and it would be amazing to come out of these championships with two gold medals”
Both riders will face competition for medals from Strong’s US teammates Mike Shea and Keith Gabel, who claimed silver and bronze medals in snowboard cross at Sochi.
Women's Snowboard Cross SB-LL2
The Netherlands’ Bibian Mentel-Speee will once again go into the banked slalom race as strong favourite to take gold, after claiming the world title in snowboard cross earlier in the week. But Australia’s Joany Badenhorst will be looking to cause a shock upset and take the title for herself. Badenhorst and Mentel-Speee have been the only riders to finish on the podium at all of this season’s banked slalom World Cup races, with the Dutch rider taking all the gold medal positions.
Other competitors looking to podium will be the USA’s Heidi Jo Duce and Mentel-Spee’s teammate Lisa Bunschoten.
Men's Snowboard Cross SB-UL
Great Britain’s Ben Moore will be aiming to put aside the disappointment of finishing in third place earlier this week in the snowboard cross race and quickly bounce back with a win in this event.
“I haven’t had too much training on banked slalom courses, but I’ve done lots of bowl riding before,” said Moore. “To me a bowl is probably more like a banked slalom than anything else we really ride, so fingers crossed that will transfer through and help me in the race.”
His main competition will be Austria’s Patrick Mayrhofer and Italy’s Manuel Pozzerle – who defeated Moore in the semi-finals of the snowboard cross event earlier in the week before going on to secure the world title. The three men have been swapping places on the podium all season on the World Cup circuit, and it is anyone’s guess in which order they will finish in La Molina.
This will be the final day of the 2015 IPC Snowboard World Championships and features around 42 of the world’s best para-snowboarders from 18 countries.
Live results and a livestream will be available at www.LaMolina2015.com. Updates will be posted to IPC Alpine Skiing Facebook page and Twitter, as well as @Paralympics Instagram.