Germany’s multiple world and Paralympic medallist Anna Schaffelhuber proved that she is still a one to watch in the women’s sitting, winning the slalom at the opening Para alpine skiing World Cup in Kuhtai, Austria, on Thursday (15 December).
Schaffelhuber, who owns all five Paralympic titles from Sochi 2014, had the fastest first run. It was enough to give her the victory despite finishing second on her second run, thus showing her form ahead of the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, from 22-31 January.
She edged fellow German skier and Sochi 2014 bronze medallist Anna-Lena Forster and Japan’s Momoka Muraoka into second and third respectively.
Thursday’s competition also saw the return of Slovakian Henrieta Farkasova in the women’s visually impaired, as well as the continued improvement of Canadian youngster Alana Ramsay in the women’s standing.
Farkasova, with her guide Natalia Subrtova, led both her runs. It was the five-time Paralympic champion’s first World Para Alpine Skiing event since winning three medals (two golds) at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
She beat Great Britain’s Millie Knight with guide Brett Wild – podium finisher at the 2015 Worlds – and Australia’s Melissa Perrine guided by Andrew Bor.
Ramsay, who turns 22 later this month and finished third overall in the World Cup last season, had an impressive first run to beat Germany’s Andrew Rothfuss. Slovakia’s Petra Smarzova was third.
The men’s slalom events saw some surprises.
In the visually impaired, Slovakia’s Miroslav Haraus (1:46.17) carried over his successful three victories from the recent Europa Cup in Pitztal, Austria. The 2015 Worlds silver medallist, with his guide Maros Hudik, defeated Italy’s Giacomo Bertagnolli and guide Fabrizio Casal – podium hopes for their home World Championships in 2017. Slovakia once again entered the top three with a third-place finish from Jakub Krako and guide Branislav Brozman.
In the men’s standing, Austria’s Thomas Grochar won both his runs for the victory. Finland’s Santeri Kiiveri was second, followed by the USA’s Thomas Walsh.
Poland’s Igor Sikorski also saw his first podium finish of the season, taking the top finish in the men’s sitting. Japan’s Taiki Morii was second and the Netherlands’ Jeroen Kampschreur completed the podium.
Competition continues on Friday and Saturday (16-17 December) with giant slalom, before the World Cup moves to St. Moritz, Switzerland, from 19-22 December. More than 100 athletes from nearly 25 countries are racing in both editions.
Full results are available at World Para Alpine Skiing’s website.
Live results are available for all World Cups.
Updates and results will be shared on Twitter and Instagram (@Paralpine), and Facebook.com/paraalpine.