Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Austria’s Benjamin Karl and Russia’s Alena Zavarzina, Triumph in the PGS at La Molina

The third gold medals were handed out at the 2011 FIS Snowboard World Championships with the greatest Paralel Giant Slalom (PGS) racers on the circuit today. The "Pedro Hill", located in the Snowpark Alabaus zone in La Molina, witnessed the triumph of Austrian, Benjamin Karl and Russia’s, Alena Zavarzina.
In the male competition, everyone tried to take home gold and inherit the throne from the now retired Canadian Champion, Jasey Jay Anderson. Surprisingly a few big names in PGS, like Swiss double Olympic champion Philipp Schoch, the Canadian Matthew Morison and current second placed in the Overall World-Cup Andreas Prommegger, didn’t make it through the qualification. This being the case, World-Cup leader Benjamin Karl was a likely favorite in the finals. The reigning Slalom World Champion (PSL), today, surpassed his PGS first title and beat the Slovenian, Rok Marguc. The Italian, Roland Fischnaller took the bronze medal.
"I’m really happy. I had a great time in all of the races, it’s really incredible to be a World Champion again", said Karl. "I hope to do it again in the PSL". This is the 6th title for Austria in the PGS, a discipline, which has been dominated for quite some time by the champions, Siegfried Grabner (2003), Mauela Riegler (2005), Heidi Neururer (2007) and Marion Kreiner (2009).
Also, the female side witnessed the world’s crème de la crème. Amongst them the favorites, Olympic champion, Dutch Nicolien Sauerbreij, the runner-up in Vancouver, Russian Ekaterina Ilyukhina, the current world champion, Marion Kreiner, 2007 champion Russia's, Ekaterina Tudegesheva and the rest of the strong Austrian side with Claudia Riegler and Doris Guenther.
Zavarzina, 21-years old and born in Novosibirsk, impressed in the quarter- and semi-finals by safely defeating Maegert-Kohli and later on taking advantage from an early crash by Doris Guenther, hence bringing her to the grand final. Her opponent in the finals became Claudia Riegler, the 37 year old routinier in her final season, did advance to the finals after closely beating Tudegesheva and making a thrilling comeback in the second run against Kober. The final was decided due to mistakes by Riegler which she made in both runs leaving her with no chance for gold. In the battle for third place, another Austrian, Doris Guenther, took bronze, by just four hundredths of a second against Amelie Kober.
"I could honestly not be any happier! I didn’t really expect to win, since so far I’ve only won one World-Cup race", commented Zavarzina. "I will definitely celebrate this gold medal, after I could only drink tea when I won in Telluride in 2009. I invite all of you to celebrate with me in the La Molina Space", she added with a smiling face.

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