Sarka Pancochova and Daisuke Murakami victorious at Kreischberg
First ever victories in Styria: Sarka Pancochova (CZE) and Daisuke Murakami (JPN) have celebrated their career's first ever LG Snowboard FIS World Cup victories in the halfpipe at Kreischberg. The Czech rider dominated the ladies' night final with 42.1 points thus relegating China's Zhifeng Sun (40.6) and Xu Chen (40.5) to the second and third spot respectively. On the men's side, Murakami was the unbeaten freestyler earning 43.2 points edging off Swiss young gun Patrick Burgener to the runner-up spot (42.5). Norway's Tore Holvik rounded out the podium as third (42.1).
Both dominating riders of today laid the foundation to victory in the first run of the night finals at Kreischberg. Pancochova who had made it straight to the finals as third of the qualifiers impressed with a faultless run including "Frontside Air" to "Backside 540", "Frontside 540", "Straight Air" and a "Frontside 720" to finish things off. That this run would finally be equivalent to her career's first top podium result was in the end surprising for the 19-years-old. "I knew that I can do good tricks but I didn't expect to win at all. It feels so good, I cannot believe it" Pancochova said after flying straight to victory in her first ever final. Before, she had missed the top 20 in all of her so far seven World Cup starts with a 21st as best result (Saas-Fee 2009). So, today's triumph came just right in time in order to go confident into the up-coming weeks: "I hope to be part in Vancouver and would love to give my best there."
Daisuke Murakami now also has some good chances to be part of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver by putting an exclamation mark into the race of the strong Japanese squad for their national Olympic spots. "I'm very happy. It's so nice that all the people showed up here and watch me riding the pipe." In his second ever night final the 27-years-old threw in the highest tricks which made the difference. Murakami showcased a "Backside Air" to "Back-to-back 1080's" and a final "Frontside 900" which in the end where the measure of all things. "The final was on a high technical level so I totally went for air time which paid off."
Patrick Burgener surprises field
It was the right decision to go for amplitude as one talent from Switzerland loudly knocked on the door to the World's elite. 15-years-old Patrick Burgener sticked and incredible run consisting of "Frontside Air", "Backside 540", "Back-to-back 1080's" and a "Frontside 900" which simply made one wanting to see more of this kid in action. No wonder that he flew straight to the podium in his fourth ever World Cup appearance. "It's unbelievable. I'm so stoked. I came here to get the Olympic quota and ended up as runner-up! This makes me even stronger."
Grand dame is back in the World Cup circus
Besides the young Swiss hopeful another countrywoman of him also put herself back in the spotlight. Coming back from a competition break of approximately one and a half years, 2007 World Champion Manuela Laura Pesko celebrated a nice comeback: "The joy for riding made me coming back. I went for some turns in autumn and simply wanted more." The possible Olympia participation which could be coming true due to her result however didn't play a role for her decision to getting dressed again for halfpipe contests: "It's nice to have this chance but I just enjoy the riding again. I'm not done yet" the 31-years-old added.