Xu Chen, Justin Lamoureux and Seppe Smits best halfpipe qualifiers

29 January 2010 23:11

While Chen XU (CHN), who threw in a massive "frontside air" to "backside air", "back-to-back 540's" and a final "frontside 720" earning 39.9 points, led two of her team mates (Xuetong Cai and Shifeng Sun) straight into tomorrow's night finals scheduled for 7PM local time, the biggest bit for a podium spot has to take an extra lap in the semi finals starting Saturday, Jan. 30th, at 5PM.

Jiayu Liu, who is competing in her season's second competition after winning the opener in New Zealand end of August 2009, has to battle it out for the last remaining spots with number 4 qualifier Holly Crawford (AUS), Sophie Rodriguez (FRA), Sina Candrian SUI and Canada's hopefuls Mercedes Nicoll and Sarah Conrad.

On the men's side, Seppe Smits, who had been yesterday's top qualifier in the Slopestyle event, dominated heat 1 by scoring 45.7 points for "frontside air" to "backside 900", "back-to-back 720's" and an "alley oop backside 540" to finish things off. The Belgium rider proceeded directly to the finals being accompanied by Mathieu Crepel (FRA) and Manuel Pietropoli (ITA).

In heat 2, Justin Lamoureux took home the best score (42.1) by nailing a technical run consisting of "switch backside 540", "frontside 1080 inverted", "switch method", a corked "cab 720" and a final "frontside 720". Two Frenchmen finished second and third (Arthur Longo and Gary Zebrowski).

Tomorrow's semi final will feature the likes of twelve talented athletes who all are keen to grab one of the last six final spots: Dolf van der Waal and Dimi de Jong from the Netherlands, Canada's Brendan Davis and Derek Livingstone, China's Xiayoe Zeng and Yiwei Zhang, Ben Mates (AUS), Ben Kilner (GBR), Olivier Gittler and Aluan Ricciardi from France as well as Brett Esser (USA) and Ruben Verges from Spain.