Line up falls into place for Winter Games NZ

28 May 2013 08:45
2013 fis snowboard world championships - halfpipe - finals - iouri podladtchikov (sui)
2013 fis snowboard world championships - halfpipe - finals - iouri podladtchikov (sui) -

Winter Olympians, Winter X Games stars and FIS World Cup winners from around the world are signing up to compete at Winter Games NZ this August.

The 11-day competition, ranked as one of the top five winter sports event in the world, has already attracted entries from the Swiss, US, Japanese, Hungarian and Dutch national teams with many more expected as the countdown continues to the last major qualifying event before the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Elite athletes entered so far include Swiss snowboard stars Iouri Podladtchikov and Ursina Haller.

Affectionately known as ‘I-Pod’, the Russian-born Podladtchikov who won the FIS Snowboard World Championships title earlier this year sent the crowd wild at the X Games Tignes SuperPipe finals in March by landing the first ever ‘YOLO flip’ – a cab double cork 1440 – in competition.

Compatriot and fellow Winter Olympian, Ursina Haller took third at the season's finals of the FIS Snowboard World Cup tour in Sierra Nevada last March. Both are definite medal contenders for Sochi 2014.

Winter Games NZ chief executive, Arthur Klap said the calibre of entries already received reflected the importance of the Games ahead of next February’s Winter Olympics.

“Winter Games NZ is a crucial event in deciding the final start lists for Sochi. Final qualification points are at stake so the performance of many athletes at Wanaka’s ski fields will determine whether they compete in Russia or watch it on TV,” he said.

“The fact that even those who have already qualified are still joining their team mates here to train reflects the importance and quality of our facilities in New Zealand as an off-season winter venue.”

Winter Games NZ 2013 takes place over 11-days from 15-25 August at the international resorts of Coronet Peak, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Snow Farm and Snow Park, along with the Maniototo Curling International Rink.

Set against the spectacular backdrop of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, the Games also include a full Downtown Sessions festival programme featuring films, live music and entertainment in Queenstown and Lake Wanaka.

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