Historical WCS PGS at Kreischberg: Claudia Riegler and Andrey Sobolev win gold
The penultimate snowboard medal event of the FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships Kreischberg has wrapped up with some historic results at Lachtal, the venue for the alpine snowboarding events, today,
Facing a blue bird sky, a perfect slope conditions and a massively packed tribune it was yesterday's silver medallist Andrey Sobolev (RUS) who became the first ever male snowboarder from Russia to claim a world title winning the parallel giant slalom ahead of Zan Kosir (SLO) and dethroned 2013 world champion Benjamin Karl (AUT).
The 25-year-old was able to keep the momentum from the parallel slalom stepping up his game in the pgs event and claiming an unexpected title:
“I wasn't thinking of anything like this but it feels great. I didn't have any ambitions for the pgs today. But having a medal already to my belt gave me a lot of confidence. I felt comfortable today and didn't worry about racing at all.”
In the women's competition Claudia Riegler (AUT) not only won the first gold for the hosting nation at the first ever combined World Championships but also became the oldest snowboarder ever to win a world title.
The 41-year-old from Flachau whose sister Manuela had earned PGS gold ten years ago in Whistler Mountain, Canada beat 2011 world champion Alena Zavarzina (RUS) in the big final. 2014 Olympic silver medallist Tomoka Takeuchi rounded out the podium as third.
“It's cool when you win such a big title in my age. But age is only a number. I feel very good, I know I'm fit. If everything comes together, I'm still able to mix it at the top. You set your own limits though.”
However, Riegler, who competed in the first ever snowboard world cup event back in November 1994 (PSL in Zell am See, Austria), needed quite a few attempts to get on top of the world.
“It's been my ninth world champs and I finally got gold. I liked the course, felt good and knew it would be possible. I finally achieved my goal”, said Riegler who already had a bronze and silver from 2011 to her belt.
Having completed the full set of medals at home whilst also having secured her personal spot for the 2017 world championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain she is now ready for another record.
Besides still having a few World Cup races to come this season, it's most likely that she will go on two more years, too.
And with already 294 starts in her legs, it won't take long anymore until she will replace her younger sister Manuela (307 starts) as the snowboarder with the most World Cup starts in history.
Until it's time for that historical date, the world championships continue tomorrow with the big air finals, ladies and men, at the main venue site at Kreischberg. The night finals (best of three jumps count) kick off at 6 PM CET.