The World Para Alpine Skiing World Championships will take place across two countries for the first time later this month. Sella Nevea, Italy, will stage the speed events and Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, the technical competitions.
Check out four potential storylines to be answered between 21 January and 1 February.
Clean sweep contenders
Both Henrieta Farkasova, guided by Natalia Subrtova in the women’s vision impaired, and Marie Bochet in the women’s standing dominated their categories over the past few years.
The Slovakian was close to performing a clean sweep at the 2017 World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, after winning golds in the slalom, giant slalom, super-G and super-combined.
However, Farkasova had to settle for silver in the downhill as Great Britain’s Millie Knight and guide Brett Wild took gold.
The same happened the following year at the Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. But, in this case it was Great Britain’s Menna Fitzpatrick and guide Jennifer Kehoe who spoiled their perfect record.
France’s Bochet was also close to leaving both competitions with five golds. In Tarvisio, she claimed three golds and two silvers.
In PyeongChang, Bochet was even closer to sweeping all her events as she won four golds. But an uncharacteristic error put her out of medal contention in the fifth one, a mistake she will be hoping not to repeat at the Worlds.
One of the most expected head-to-heads will be that of Anna Schaffelhuber and Claudia Loesch.
Their rivalry in the women’s sitting dates back to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Paralympics, with the Austrian taking two golds and Schaffelhuber one bronze.
Since then they have faced off at two more Paralympic Winter Games and four World Championships.
The German has claimed seven golds and one silver at the Winter Paralympics and nine golds, six silvers and three bronze at the Worlds.
Loesch, on the other hand, won four silvers and one bronze across Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018, as well as eight golds, six silvers and three bronze at World Championships.
Young talents target glory
Theo Gmur was one of the biggest surprises at PyeongChang 2018, winning three golds in the men’s downhill, super-G and giant slalom standing. At Tarvisio 2017, the Swiss took a solitary silver.
Arthur Bauchet is another young skier to look out for. In Sella Nevea/Kranjska Gora, he will be defending the world titles in the giant slalom and slalom.
The Frenchman will also try return to the top of the podium after claiming four silvers at PyeongChang 2018.
Canadian Mollie Jepsen will make her World Championships debut in 2019 following an unforgettable Winter Games in 2018, where she took her maiden Paralympic gold in the women’s super-combined standing.
Japan hopeful of Worlds gold
Japan have a long tradition in winter Para sports. They have won 23 golds, 32 silvers and 35 bronze at Paralympic Winter Games. Now Japan seek to extend that success through 21-year-old Momoko Muraoka.
At 21 years old, she has already competed at two Games, taking her first gold in the women’s giant slalom sitting in PyeongChang 2018. She followed that up with two silvers and two bronze.
But Muraoka has yet to win a World Championships title. Her best result so far was second in the downhill in 2015. She is hoping her first time comes in Sella Nevea/Kranjska Gora.
Check out more information on the 2019 Worlds at the official website.