Jiayu Liu and Nathan Johnstone win 1st ever World Cup in China
Jiayu Liu (CHN) and Nathan Johnstone (AUS) are the winners of the first ever LG Snowboard FIS World Cup contest held in China. The women’s 2009 Halfpipe World Champion and the men’s 2011 Halfpipe World Champion dominated today’s halfpipe contest ran in Yabuli. Liu, who scored 27.8 out of a maximum of 30 points, relegated her team mates Xuetong Cai (25.8) and Shuang Li (22.9) to the second and third rank respectively. On the men’s side, also two Chinese rounded out the podium next to Johnstone (27.6). Yiwei Zhang (25.8) finished second, Wancheng Shi (24.2) in third.
Both had managed to notably up their score from run one in the second run of the finals – Zhang by throwing in backside air, frontside 720 indy, haakon 720, frontside 900 melon and a backside 540 mute; Shi with frontside 1080, cab 720, frontside 900, backside 540 mute and frontside air – but failed to attack the best mark set by Nathan Johnstone. Australia’s talent definitely had raised the bar too high for his competitors. Only four days after his 21st birthday, the rider from down under proofed why he deservedly had won the 2011 World Championship title in Spain about a month ago.
“Nate” secured his career’s first World Cup win at his eleventh attempt by nailing a super clean run consisting of frontside 900 mute to backside 900 melon, back-to-back 720’s and a frontside air to finish things off. According to his, Johnstone offered a positive summary: “It was really good today. The halfpipe was just unreal. The level was also good. It would have been nice if some more countries would have shown up but I definitely had some fun out there.”
Liu proud of home turf victory
Jiayu Liu also had fun riding a perfectly shaped halfpipe. And just like Johnstone on the men’s side, the fourth ranked rider of the last Olympics dominated the women’s contest with her extreme airtime. Although Liu performed almost the same runs like her fellow countrywomen ranked second and third stomping backside air, frontside 540 stale, backside 540 mute to frontside 720 indy; it was her amplitude which made the difference.
The Bronze medallist of the La Molina Worlds was simply about one and a half metres higher than the rest of the pack. A fact, which allowed her to leave out a fifth hit which Cai (cab 720) and Li (cab 360) both took. “I’m very proud of winning the first ever World Cup event in my home country. I’m very happy,” said Liu right after the price giving ceremony.
China dominates World Cup ranking
After the season’s second halfpipe contest, a total of five Chinese girls are leading the World Cup ranking with Xuetong Cai sitting in first having collected 1,800 points so far. She is followed by Jiayu Liu (1,000), Xu Chen (810), Zhifeng Sun (800) and Shuang Li (730). On the men’s side, Nathan Johnstone shares the top spot of the table with Saas-Fee winner Tore Holvik from Norway (both 1,000) while Ryo Aono (JPN) and Yiwei Zhang breathing down their neck with 800 points each.
After the first ever World Cup in China, the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup will continue in Canada. From February 17th till 20th, a total of four events are scheduled in Quebec and Stoneham. Besides a snowboard cross, a halfpipe contest and a parallel giant slalom, the first World Cup title winner will be crowned after the season’s last big air.
Result women: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/SB/7092/7092RLR0.pdf