Canada’s Mac Marcoux and Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova skied to victory in slalom on Tuesday (31 January), each claiming their fourth golds to close the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Tarvisio, Italy.
Marcoux, guided by Jack Leitch, can now call himself champion in the men’s visually impaired after registering the two fastest runs.
The 19-year-old has found the form of his career so far in Tarvisio, and continued his medal run despite the falling rain on the Di Prampero course.
Spain’s Paralympic silver medallist Jon Santacana Maiztegui improved on his bronze medal from the last Worlds in 2015, taking second place with guide Miguel Galindo.
Slovakia’s Vancouver 2010 Paralympic champion Jakub Krako and guide Branislav Brozman completed a podium triple from Tarvisio with bronze.
Now a 12-time world champion, Farkasova and guide Natalia Subrtova saw off a challenge from Great Britain’s Millie Knight with guide Brett Wild in the women’s visually impaired.
The Slovakian posted the leading time in the morning, giving herself a good buffer heading into the second run. Knight fought back in the afternoon, showing her growing confidence in taking on the world’s biggest names, but her quick finish was not quite enough and she left with silver.
Germany’s Noemi Eva Ristau kicked off a medal rush for Germany with bronze, her first at this level with guide Gerkau Lucien.
Ristau’s Paralympic champion teammate Andrea Rothfuss added gold to her country’s haul, once again overcoming France’s defending title holder Marie Bochet.
Rothfuss was just 0.19 seconds behind the French 14-time world champion after the first run. But she came back fighting as she had done 24 hours before in the giant slalom, dipping over the line first by just 0.03 seconds.
“I think slalom is the discipline I don’t like,” Rothfuss said. “I had to do a lot more training in slalom, because it’s the discipline I haven’t had a good performance in. I didn’t expect to reach the podium a second time and then in slalom. It’s incredible!
On her road to the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, which has received a huge boost this week, Rothfuss continued: “I had some good results here, that keeps me smiling all the time. I look forward to it. In the summer we will train a lot and hard for it and we’ll see what happens in PyeongChang.”
Bochet claimed silver, an impressive 16th consecutive World Championships podium finish for the multiple Paralympic champion.
Anna-Maria Rieder, another German to secure her first Worlds medal at the age of 16, was third.
The men’s standing saw a sweep of the technical events for French teenager Arthur Bauchet. Continuing to make an impact on his rivals, the youngster looked delighted to add to his title from the giant slalom on Monday (30 January).
Austria’s Thomas Grochar was second, leading New Zealand’s Adam Hall into bronze.
The men’s and women’s sitting events were highlighted by triple wins for Germany’s Anna Schaffelhuber and the Netherlands’ Jeroen Kampschreur.
In the women’s, Paralympic champion Schaffelhuber had a tussle with her teammate Anna-Lena Forster.
Schaffelhuber posted the fastest time in the morning, but 2015 bronze medallist Forster fired a warning shot in her second run closing the gap to just 0.49 seconds overall.
“I really looked forward to the slalom. I knew this would be a hot race, because Anna-Lena has been very, very strong in the slalom this year. I knew in the second run I really had to go fast, so I’m really happy to have won the gold medal today.”
The top two on the podium, added to Rothfuss’ gold and Rieder’s bronze, made a great day for Germany.
“I heard on the start that we’d won three medals and I said ‘that’s pretty cool’,” Schaffelhuber said. “That was really a motivation for me at the start. Because they won it and I knew I can do it too and I wanted to go fast.”
Austrian world champion Claudia Loesch completed the top three with bronze and medalling in all five events.
Kampschreur was on top of the world for the third time this week in the men’s sitting.
In a dramatic conclusion to the race, the 17-year-old grabbed gold from the hands of Poland’s Igor Sikorski who was in line to win his first world title.
However Kampschreur could not have skied better, weaving his way down the course with technique comparable to his more experienced competitors.
Sikorski finished 0.37 seconds behind, leading another Dutch skier, Niels de Langen, into third.
Full results from all competitions are available at Tarvisio2017.com.