Murase dominates to earn ladies big air gold for Japan in Cardrona
Cardrona (NZL) - Heavy winds forced the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled ladies 2018 FIS Junior big air World Championships competition first to Sunday, and then again to Wednesday, as officials and organizers fought to rebook the event within the confines of a packed Audi quattro Winter Games NZ schedule. So when fog again rolled in midmorning on Wednesday it appeared that fears of a full cancellation of the competition were to be realized.
However, like magic, the fog cleared just before officials would be forced to make that final call and the ladies’ big air competition got off under good conditions at Cardrona Alpine Resort, with Japan’s Kokomo Murase putting on a dominant performance on her way to winning gold.
Marase was simply untouchable by anyone else in the field, stomping a backside 720 mute on her first hit and a frontside 720 melon on her second run, before attempting an ultimately unsuccessful 900 on her final hit. Still, even without the 900, Murase’s two-run score of 181.00 put her nearly 45 points ahead of silver medalist Sommer Gendron (CAN) while giving Japan a sweep of the junior world championship big air gold medals.
“I’m really stoked to have won today,” said Murase through her coach as translator, “And I’m already looking forward to coming back next year and winning again. I was stoked to land both of my 720s but I was a bit upset I didn’t land the 900, so that’s something to work on for the next competition.”
Many competitors struggled to put down the landing gear on Wednesday, and silver medalist was no exception, crashing solidly on her first run. However, she was able to pick herself back up and put her tricks down when it counted most, earning a two-run score of 136.40 on the strength of her backside 360 mute and cab 540.
The bronze medal went to China’s Ren Ziyan, giving her nation it’s first medal of the 2018 FiS Junior Snowboard World Championships.
Next up on the schedule is the slopestyle competition, with nearly all of the big air athletes looking forward to another crack at the medals in that event. Slopestyle qualifications at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ are slated to take place on Thursday, with finals coming up on Friday.