Halfpipe kids go big in Japan

12 February 2016 14:09
Ayunu Hirano goes big in style to earn the top seat in the qualifiers at Sapporo halfpipe WC
Ayunu Hirano goes big in style to earn the top seat in the qualifiers at Sapporo halfpipe WC -
Atsushi Tomura

After Event Officials were forced to bring the qualification for this season's last halfpipe World Cup one day forward due to the bad weather forecasts, it was the riders turn to take over the action at the Bankei superpipe in Sapporo, Japan.

And the 23 women and 29 men did so in style really going for it with Asian riders doing best best claiming half of the spots for the finals of the top-6 women and top-10 men which is currently scheduled for Sunday, February 24th, 2016, at 11 AM local time (3 AM CET).

In the women's event, China's team veteran Jiayu Liu took the top qualifier spot ahead of her fellow countrywoman Xuetong Cai which leaves the reigning world champion in a perfect spot for bringing home her career's fourth halfpipe World Cup title.

Cai just needs to place on the podium to claim the Crystal Globe.

However, riders like Hikaru Oe (JPN), world champs bronze medallist Clemence Grimal (FRA), Haruna Matsumoto (JPN) and Shuang Li (CHN) are all capable of posting a top-3 result, too.

In the men's qualification Olympic silver and bronze medallists from Sochi, Russia Ayumu Hirano and Taku Hiraoka (both JPN) stood out with their team mates Raibu Katayama and this season's World Cup title winner Ryo Aono also proceeding to the finals.

The men's showdown which will also feature the likes of Swiss trio Patrick Burgener, David Habluetzel and Jan Scherrer, Aussies Nate Johnstone and Kent Callister as well as Finnish ripper Markus Malin.

At the moment, the finals should provide three runs for the riders with the best one counting but Event Offiicals have to take it as it comes on the event day being open for possible format changes. 

NBC will be streaming live in the US.