Spindleruv-Mlyn, Czech Republic- (16 March 2013) - Rebecca “Possum” Torr (Te Puke) and Christy Prior (Auckland) gave it a good nudge, but the slate was wiped clean and it was a brand new day of competition in semi-finals at the Czech World Cup snowboard slopestyle.
Possum landed her first run although a hand-drag on the landing of her backside 540 in her first run relegated her to sixth place out of the 10 semi-finalists vying for one of only two places left in the finals, leaving her in 10th place in the final event standings. Christy Prior kicked her run off with all guns blazing, but an uncharacteristic sketch on the down rail feature meant she had to settle for seventh in semis and 11th overall.
Shelly Gotlieb (Ohakune) who had qualified directly to finals was the last Kiwi standing and after some good runs in training landed her first run of finals with a clean backside 720 over the last jump. Sitting in fourth place before run one, Shelly knew the podium was within reach. She dropped in with extra pace, and boosted out of the hip on her Cab 270, but struggled to hold onto the extra speed through the halfpipe section and her quest for the top spot was over.
The first place qualifier and former World Tour Champion Enni Rukajarvi from Finland placed first with Sina Candrian from Switzerland and Kjersti Buaas from Norway in second and third respectively.
Overall it was a strong performance from the New Zealand team, and the Olympic qualifying ranking list is looking healthy after their third qualifying event.
“I was impressed with the positivity that the whole Kiwi team retained throughout the event and the support they gave each other, especially considering NZ Slopestyle Coach, Jody Blatchley, was out of action following a recent nasty injury,” said Snow Sports NZ Head Park and Pipe Coach Tom Willmott.
“While it was a shame that we didn’t have more of our team in finals, which was on the cards after the qualifying day, we netted some good results and everyone took plenty of learning out of the event, not least Christy Prior and her coach Colin Bartlett, both in action at their first World Cup event.”
The team now travels to Laax, Switzerland for four days of training prior to the World Cup finals in Sierra Nevada, Spain.