China wins in front of the home crowd at the Aerials Team Event World Cup in Beijing
BEIJING (CHN) – After Saturday night's incredible aerials World Cup opener from the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, China, the best aerials athletes in the world were back at it again on Sunday with the aerials World Cup team event. Similarly to the last year’s competition it was once again the Chinese team to take the win in front of the home crowd, while Ashley Caldwell (USA) and David Morris (AUS) secured the overall Aerials World Cup top spots.
At Sunday morning's team captain's meeting, teams of three jumpers, composed of at least one athlete from each gender, were finalized and registered with officials. On Sunday afternoon things got going with the qualifications rounds that would decide each athletes’ World Cup score on the day.
In the ladies field Fanyu Kong (CHN) stuck the landing on the back Lay Full Full, the trick at which she failed at the yesterday’s finals, and took top points in back-to-back competition days. Yesterday’s winner Ashley Caldwell (USA) once again showed extreme technicality on her back Full Full Full, however it was only enough for the second place. Third place went to the 20 years-old Huilin Quan (CHN), former double Junior World Champion from Valmalenco (ITA) for whom it was also the best World Cup performance so far in the career.
On the men’s side it was Maxim Gustik (BLR) who perfectly landed his back Full double Full Full and gained 100 points in the World Cup overall classification. Second place went to David Morris (AUS), the silver medalist from Sochi, who improved his yesterday’s performance by one spot. Oleksandr Abramenko (UKR) finished the qualifications on the third place.
With the points earned from qualifications all tallied up, Caldwell kept her lead on top of the Aerials World Cup ladder 40 points ahead of Kong with another Chinese athlete Xin Zhang sitting on third. In the men’s standing it was Morris who took over the lead from Guangpu Qi (CHN) droping into third after finishing qualies in the second half of the pack. Today’s qualifications winner Gustik jumped on the second spot.
From qualifications it was into final one, where the Belarus 1 team composed of Ramanouskaya, Osipau and Gustik lead the way ahead of Russia 2, China 1, Australia, Belarus 2 and China 2.
Dropping in as the first athlete of the final two, Kong (China 2) went once again for the triple but did not land it and after clean jumps from both Ramanouskaya (Belarus 1) and Orlova (Russia 2), China 1 was sitting on third after the first heat.
Heat 2 was a stomped affair with all athletes sticking either perfect or near-perfect landings. With Russia on top with the slightly advantage over Belarus and China, everything was about to being decided in the last heat.
With maximum pressure on, Liu (CHN) landed the perfect back Full double Full Full claiming the highest score of the day with 128.76 points. Dropping as the last man for Russia, Polentov slapped back on his back Full Full Full and it was clear that it was only Maxim Gustik who could steal the win from the local favorites. However also Gustik wasn’t able to put down a clean run, catching the edge of his ski on the landing, and his 102.21 points were only enough to secure Belarus the second place.
“We’re very happy from the second place in Beijing,” said Gustik. “I made a mistake on the landing, but from the team’s perspective we’re very satisfied as we improved our last year’s position by one spot. We hope to stand on top next year” he added.
China once again secured the victory in the Aerials Team Event to please the home crowd at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing.
“It is wonderful to win the World Cup competitions at home,” said Guangpu Qi (CHN). “It motivates us and helps to push our sport especially with the Winter Olympic Games coming to Beijing in 2022” he finished.
Aerials World Cup comes back in the new year with the first competition taking place on 16th of January in Lake Placid (USA).