The first medals in snowboard, slope style were awarded today, on March 19.
The final competitions on the slopes of Sopka Cluster was opened by women. In the first try, the leader of the qualification Yura Murase (Japan) decided not to completely repeat her yesterday’s program and in the end received only 78.50 points. Her compatriot Shihiro Edamatsu also was very cautious and got 74.75 points.
However, Thelma Sarkipayu (Finland) made her programme even more difficult and jumped with flying colours getting 85.00 as a result! It brought the new high standard in the fight for the gold medals of the FIS Junior World Champs 2021.
Russians Yaroslava Kudryashova and Varvara Romanova’s attempts were not good enough to try to fight for the medals.
However, Evy Poppe (Belgium) continues to be one of the contenders for a medal, although she made a serious mistake in the first heat (34.75). After all, she showed a program in qualification, estimated at 86.00 points. And in the second try of the final, the she gave an excellent ride and got 88.75 points!
It only remained to wait for the performance of Murase from Japan. Her race was smooth and powerful. The judges deliberated for a long time before issuing last points of this tournament. And here we are – 87.00. This means that Evy Poppe (Belgium) has become the winner of the FIS Junior World Champs 2021. The silver medal was won by Yura Murase (Japan). Thelma Sarkipayu (Finland) became the bronze medalist.
Evy Poppe admitted that today she is just happy: “I am very pleased! Being a junior champion is very cool. I am so happy! I’m the first! Today is a very good weather – the best one for sports. And the other girls competed very well. Congratulations to everyone – both prize winners and participants. I did everything that I planned. Yesterday I didn’t manage to make a difficult jump, so I knew that today I had to do it, because it’s cooler than the frontside. And I did it!! I am glad for my triumph, I am glad to be in Russia. The organization of the event is amazing. I really liked the opening ceremony, great fireworks. It was very nice. “
Four representatives of Japan reached the final at once became one of the leaders in slopestyle qualification. They set the standards for others competing for the gold medal.
Moreover, Aoto Kawakami, who was only the eighth in qualification, shot the moon in the first try. But if yesterday he scored 78.25 points, now in the final it is 89.00! It is noteworthy that none of the Japanese could get such a high score. Only Sam Vermaat (Holland) received more than eighty points from the judges – 86.50 and became a real contender for medals.
There was a second attempt ahead. The competition has become tougher. Moritz Breu (Germany) got 83.75 points. Taiga Hashigawa (Japan) was only half a point behind him. Shuzaburo Otsubo (Japan) was great, but he needed only 0.25 points to get the same result of Vermaat!
Well, the results of Kawakami and Vermaat remained unattainable until the very last try. Rikuto Watanabe from Japan managed to score the best points at the current championship in his second try – 92.75 points!
Thus, Rikuto Watanabe (Japan) won gold, Aoto Kawakami (Japan) won silver, Sam Vermaat (Holland) won bronze.
Immediately after the victory, Rikuto Watanabe was restrained just like Japanese do: “Yes, before the last start, I was extremely nervous. But as soon as I ride down the slope… I did everything that I had planned. Thanks everyone! Thanks to Krasnoyarsk! “
The bronze medalist Sam Vermaat was more emotional: “Snowboarders from Japan are very strong and high-level opponents. And I am very happy to be on the podium, to perform on a par with the Japanese athletes. Before arriving here, I did not know anything about Krasnoyarsk, but it is a very large city, and I was pleasantly surprised. The FIS Junior World Champs are very well organized and it is a great event. The slopestyle course in the Sopka Cluster is one of the best in the world. I am very happy to be here.”
The program of the FIS Junior World Champs 2021 will be followed by freestylers, who will compete for medals in halfpipe and team aerials in the evening program today, on March 19.