Snowboarders compete for medals in the parallel giant slalom at the FIS Junior World Champs 2021

More medals have been awarded at the FIS Junior World Champs 2021 in Krasnoyarsk.  The jury defined the strongest snowboarders in parallel giant slalom.

The competition among women had 28 athletes from 10 countries:  Russia, Japan, Korea, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Kazakhstan and Greece.

Sofia Nadyrshina (Russia), the current world champion in parallel slalom and vice-champion in giant slalom, showed the best time on the blue course and was the second on the red course in qualification. As a result, she won in the qualification, but Tsubaki Miki (Japan) was only 0.01 seconds behind her. Other Russian athletes from women’s team included in the tournament also reached the 1/8 finals: Maria Volgina – from 5th place, Anastasia Malakhova – from 8th, Darina Klink – from 10th, Varvara Artyukhova – from 11th, and Daria Belova – from 16th.

The 1/8  finals brought only one surprise when Darina Klink knocked out Zuzana Maderova, number 7, the Czech Republic, from the fight.   Darina could have made another big stir in the quarterfinals. In the race with the silver medalist of the junior world championship Tsubaki Miki, she raced very fast but lost 0.09 seconds at the finish. The semifinals seemed pretty easy for Miki, because her rival Seo Hee Jang fell in the middle of the course.

 In the final, the Japanese athlete had to compete with Sofia Nadyrshina. A noteworthy fact is that on her way to the finals Sofia had to leave all the Russian athletes behind, they were doomed for this by the tournament bracket.  She beat all her mates – Daria Belova, Anastasia Malakhova and Maria Volgina – by winning more than a second.

The end was exactly like in the final of the 2020 junior world championship.  Sofia Nadyrshina (Russia) vs. Tsubaki Miki (Japan). Everyone could feel the heat of struggle right from the first meters on the slope. Sofia set the pace, Tsubaki accepted the challenge. And failed to cope with this savage speed closer to the end of the course.  And Sofia crossed the finish with her hands high up in a victorious salute.

There was no fight in the small final either. Seo Hee Jang (Korea) made a mistake in the middle of the course, and Maria Volgina (Russia) got the bronze medal:  “I am very glad that I won the prize.  After all, there were many strong athletes who took part, for example, in the World Cup Stages and in the World Championship.   I am very happy to stand with them on the same podium.  I missed the first qualification run, but I was able to pull myself together and got to the podium. The third place in the world championship is very honorable.  The weather is very good today.  The course is tough and perfect even after so many runs.  It is very important that both courses were smooth and equal, so there was not much difference which one to go.  And thanks to the fans! Their support helps to get together.  When you hear the fans shouting and supporting you, it immediately tunes you up, and you swoosh leaving your opponent behind.”

As for the gentlemen, 33 snowboarders from 12 countries: Russia, Germany, Japan, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Korea, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Canada, took part in the FIS Junior World Champs 2021.

Two-time bronze medalist of the world championships Iaroslav Stepanko (Russia) won the qualification.  Ole-Mikkel Prantl (Germany), who took second place, was 0.16 seconds behind him. Among the Russian athletes only Stanislav Kerzhentsev did not get through the qualification races.  Vsevolod Martynov took the 3rd place, Stepan Naumov – the 4th place, Iliya Sokolov was the 5th, Vladimir Pnev – the 8th.

One unpleasant surprise came from Iliya Sokolov in the 1/8 finals when he fell shortly after the start. In the quarterfinals, the Russian team lost one more athlete.   And then Vladimir Pnev and Iaroslav Stepanko met in one race.  The leader of the qualification went further. And in the semifinals, Stepanko take the lead over another compatriot – Stepan Naumov.

Ole-Mikkel Prantl (Germany) literally broke through to the finals from the other side of the tournament grid. He barely gnawed out the victorious 0.02 (!) seconds on the finish line,  defeating Daichi Shimizu (Japan) first in the quarterfinals, and then, in the semifinals, was 0.11 seconds faster than Vsevolod Martynov (Russia).

Just like at World Championships 2020, in the finals of the parallel giant slalom, Prantl met with the Russian snowboarder. He lost to Dmitry Loginov last year, this year the entire pace of the race was controlled by Iaroslav Stepanko who won the gold medal.

Iaroslav Stepanko admitted that he had a winning strategy:  “The plan was devised long before the start: we chose the right course, prepared the equipment well, prepared for this start – and everything worked out. Everything went according to the plan and we had it. I haven’t won any gold medals before, so this is cool, this is the highest award!  Tomorrow is parallel slalom, I also love this discipline, and I think I have good chances to win.  We will stick to the plan.”   

Ole-Mikkel Prantl (Germany), who took second place in the second world championship in a row, wasn’t upset at all:  “It is an honor to be on the podium in the top three athletes in the world.  My main rival was definitely Stepanko.   In the final we were equal, but I still lost. Well, today I performed well, but tomorrow will be a new day, and I will try to take first place. Today was a great big race. I have never seen such a good course, everything is just perfect. This championship is similar to the Olympic Games, very cool.”

In the race for the bronze medal, Stepan Naumov made a mistake in the middle of the course, and Vsevolod Naumov came to the finish line first.

The FIS Junior World Champs 2021 continues. The FIS Junior World Champs 2021 continues. Tomorrow, on March 26, snowboarders will compete for two sets of medals in the parallel slalom.  Follow the competition schedule at ensib.ru. The tickets for the FIS Junior World Champs 2021 can be purchased at krs.kassir.ru on the events page.