FIS Halfpipe: Yamaoka and Batchelor win in Stoneham
Soko Yamaoka (JPN) and Jeff Batchelor (CAN) have secured the victory in the seasonís sixth halfpipe contest of the 2009 Snowboard FIS World Cup.
In the night finals held at Stoneham, Quebec, the Japanese rider successfully competed against the rest of the ladies’ pack due to a score of 44.3 points. Shiho Nakashima (40.4) finished seconds taking over the World Cup lead with a total of 3,320 points from not started Jiayu Liu and now leading with only 20 points over the Chinese. Rana Okada (37.8) rounded out the Japanese podium sweep as third. On the men’s side, Batchelor (45.5) celebrated a double victory for his home country as his team mate Brad Martin (44.2) came in second ahead of third ranked Finn Markus Malin (43.2).
Already in the qualification, Jeff Batchelor had posted the top score thus intimidating that he would be the man to beat. According to this, the 21-year-old from Oakville, Ontario, entered the training for the night finals confidently. In the chair lift up to the halfpipe, the 2009 World Championships runner-up had already stated that he came here to win. Only a few minutes later, he proved his statement with an impressive first run showing that Batchelor definitely knows how to spell “air time”. He dropped in with a huge “Japan Air” followed by a “Frontside 900”, “Backside 900”, “Frontside 540” and a “Backside 1080” to wrap up the winning run which raised the bar too high for his contenders. “The last years, I was plagued in Stoneham (finishing 13th and 5th). This time, I came to take it. But now a big load is from my shoulders as I haven’t won in two years” Batchelor said after his career’s second World Cup win.
It could have been the second triumph for Brad Martin, too, but the 2006 Olympian missed it by only 1.3 points. However, Martin was more than pleased about his fifth podium in 31 starts. Another podium by the way which he snatched in Canada. It seems that the 23-year-old has a favour for contests in his home country as he had earned all of his top-3-finishs in Whistler, Calgary and Stoneham so far. “Last year (in Calgary) I was ahead of Jeff, this time he is first. It’s always fun to be on the podium with this guy.” That the decision for first or second was a close one didn’t affect him at all: “I had a lot of fun in an icy, big and simply perfect pipe here in Stoneham. I sticked my trick and this is what came out.” 44.2 points were the reward for his second run consisting of a “Frontside Air”, “Backside 540”, “Frontside 1080”, “Cab 720” and a final “Frontside 1260”, a run which was identical to the one of last week in Cypress where he ended up seventh.
Third ranked Finn and thus best European Markus Malin was also pleased – regarding the performances of the top-5 men today – to bring down his second run („Frontside Air“, „Backside 900“, „Back-to-back 1080’s“, „Air to Fakie“ and „Cab 720“) after he had crashed in the first one and thus placed last of the twelve finalists before entering the re-runs. “I knew that I could do it. I felt great the whole day. So, I trusted myself before dropping in. I’m proud that I sticked it.”
The oldest lady in the starter field has finally triumphed again in a World Cup after she had to wait for this about four years (Whistler). According to this, Soko Yamaoka bettered her outstanding record. 38 times the 34-year-old started in World Cup halfpipe competitions, 18 times she jumped on the podium of which she placed first six times. “I’m very happy to finally win again.” Especially as a lot of young talented kids are entering the World Cups: “They getting more and more, but I guess I’m still good enough to fight back.” Words she had underlined before with a “Backside tail grab”, “Back-to-back 540’s”, a “Frontside 720” and a “Cab 540”.
The FIS World Cup weekend in Stoneham and Quebec wrapped up with victories for Germany and Austria. In the last of four contests, Amelie Kober (GER) and Benjamin Karl (AUT) claimed Gold in the Parallel Giant Slalom.
After they already claimed victory a few days ago on the 2010 Olympic course at Cypress, Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Markus Schairer (AUT) also secured Gold at Stoneham and thus extended their Snowboard Cross World Cup lead.
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