The FIS Freestyle Ski moguls World Cup got right back to business on Saturday with Perrine Laffont (FRA) and Ikuma Horishima (JPN) taking victories in the first of back-to-back competitions scheduled for this weekend in China’s prime ski resort at Thaiwoo.
Coming back to Thaiwoo for the fourth consecutive season, competition kicked off early on Saturday with the qualification round sending the top 16 women and the top 16 men through to the finals, where the best-of-the-best would drop in one after another to battle for the win.
In the ladies’ competition it was Perrine Laffont, who went for her second consecutive World Cup victory in 2019/20. The 21-year-old skier from France started off in second spot after the qualification round, stepping it up in the finals with two flawless runs. And, her effort paid off, as Laffont grabbed her career’s 11th World Cup victory.
“I struggled a little bit in trainings, so I’m really happy to finish on top of the podium by the end of the day,” said Laffont, “The course was really good, but the snow conditions were much different from what we had last week in Ruka. A little bit of soft snow, some ice too, so a bit more difficult, but also very fun to ski.”
Second place on the day went to top qualifier Yulia Galysheva of Kazakhstan, while Canada’s Justine Dufour-Lapointe rounded out the ladies’ podium in third. It was the first podium of the season for both Galysheva and Dufour-Lapointe.
Over on the men’s side it was Ikuma Horishima, who stormed to the top spot in the big final of top-6 athletes, impressing with his speed and massive jumps. Horishima upset the big favourite for the win in China - Mikael Kingsbury (CAN), who was unbeaten on course in Thaiwoo up to this point.
However, on Saturday it was the 22-year-old Horishima, who burned all he had left in the tank with his final run of the day and outscored Kingsbury by 0.6 points - 86.9 to 86.3. It was the fifth World Cup victory of his career and his second podium of the season.
Kingsbury finished the competition in second place, while Benjamin Cavet of France grabbed his first podium of the 2019/20 campaign, completing men’s podium in third place.
“The competition is very strong this year so I’m happy with my second place,” said Kingsbury, “I’m still with yellow bib now tied with Ikuma (Horishima), which I think is the first time to happen in my career. And that’s cool too.”
The moguls World Cup action in Thaiwoo continues on Sunday with the first dual moguls competition of the season. Preliminary rounds start at 11:45 LOC, while finals are coming up at 13:30 LOC.
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