Russia takes five of six podium spots in Cardrona PGS
Cardrona (NZL) - The penultimate competition of the Cardrona 2018 Junior Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships went down on Wednesday afternoon as the athletes of Alpine snowboarding took to the gates for some parallel giant slalom action, with Russia ruling the day by taking five of six medals, including golds for Milena Bykova and Dmitry Loginov.
While gusty winds around the mountain were slowing down other competitions of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ programme, conditions on the PGS course were primed for competition on Wednesday, and with both the red and blue courses running fairly the day was set for an excellent competition.
Both the men’s and ladies’ big finals saw finishes that were too close to call by sight alone, though in the end it was both competitors wearing bib number #1 and running in the red course who would walk away with the golds.
For ladies’ winner Bykova Wednesday’s performance meant back-to-back junior world championships titles after she took the win in 2017, so for her the victory was just business as usual.
“I’m feeling great. I won last year, so I was expecting to win again today,” said Bykova, "I was absolutely ready, but I’m still very happy. I did feel some pressure, but as I said I knew I could win and I did it.”
Bykova’s victory was the fourth-straight junior world championships PGS win for the Russian ladies’ team.
Silver on the day went to Gong Naiying of China, who became her nation’s first ever medal winner in a junior world championships parallel event on either the ladies’ or the men’s side, while bronze went to Bykova’s countrywoman Maria Valova.
Over on the men’s side Bykova’s compatriot Loginov is no less experienced at taking home junior world’s hardware, having won PGS silver last season in Klinovec (CZE) and PSL gold two years ago in Rogla (SLO)
“I’m feeling so good about today and my win,” said Loginov, “Today is a good day for me. I’ve got a lot of experience, so I don’t feel any pressure coming into finals after being the top qualifier. It’s tough sometimes to race against your teammates, but we’re all friends and we’re all fast so it’s ok in the end.”
As with the ladies’ side, Russia has long ruled the roost, taking four of the past six PGS junior titles. This was the second time Russia has swept the podium in Junior World Championship parallel competition, as Russia’s Dmitriy Karlagachev claimed silver and Ilia Vitugov took the bronze and repeated a feat already shown by teammates Valery Kolegov, Dmitrij Taimulin and Dmitrij Bojko in 2012.
The Cardrona 2018 FIS Junior Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships conclude on Thursday with the parallel slalom, where the rest of the field will be looking to keep up
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