Far East Cup winners look to the next level in 2018/19
The 2017/18 FIS Far East Cup (FEC) was contested from December through March at seven different resorts across China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia. The ladies and men competed in a total of 29 races including slalom, giant slalom, super-G, and alpine combined. Following the final races in Ontake, Japan, at then end of March, the discipline and Overall winners who have guaranteed starting rights in Audi FIS Alpine World Cups for the 2018/19 season emerged among the competitive international fields.
Sakurako Mukogawa of Japan ran away with the ladies’ Overall FEC title amassing 1942 points with an impressive 10 race victories while also claiming the slalom, giant slalom, and alpine combined titles. The 26-year-old racer was the FEC Overall runner-up in 2016/17 and previously claimed the title in the 2013/14 season. She has 10 World Cup starts already to her name, including the Kronplatz giant slalom this past season, but has yet to score any points.
Makiko Arai, also of Japan, claimed the ladies’ FEC super-G title with two race victories and three total podium finishes in the discipline. The 24-year-old from Takayama Gifu has competed in five World Cup races during her career, but all in the technical disciplines.
On the men’s side, Japan’s Hideyuki Narita swept the Overall and slalom titles with seven podiums and four race victories across slalom and super-G. He was a repeat Overall winner having also claimed the title in the 2014/15 season. The 24-year-old has 18 previous World Cup starts but has yet to score any points. Although Johan Hagberg of Sweden topped the super-G standings, Narita finished as runner-up and claims the World Cup starting right as the best-placed competitor from the continent in that discipline as well.
Vladislav Novikov of Russia won the FEC giant slalom by a landslide with two victories, five podiums, and finishing all nine races in the top four. In 2016, he started in the Kitzbuehel and Schladming World Cup slaloms but did not qualify for a second run in either race.
A three-way tie for first place in the alpine combined standings included only one athlete from the Far East, and Japan’s Ryunosuke Ohkoshi takes the honors of a World Cup spot for 2018/19 following his 23 March victory at Ontake. He also won an FEC slalom race earlier in the month at Sapporo teine. The 29-year-old was the FEC Overall winner in 2013/14 as well as last year’s slalom winner. He finished 19th in the World Cup slalom at Wengen this season which could bode well for his 2018/19 campaign.
Keep an eye out for these and other Far East Cup competitors in the 2018/19 World Championship season.
Full ladies' FEC standings are available here.
Full men's FEC standings are available here.