Snowboard World Cup prep for winter Olympics
Sun, 26 Aug 2012 6:48p.m.
By David Di Somma
The only snowboard World Cup in the Southern Hemisphere this year was held at Cardrona, near Wanaka, today.
It featured many of the top riders who will be gunning for medals at the next winter Olympics.
A regular visitor to this country, Ryo Aono has long been a real force on the World Cup circuit and a medallist at the Winter X Games.
Today the 22-year-old from Matsuyama easily accounted for a high-class field at Cardrona.
His first run was a competition leading 92.75, and then on the second he pushed even harder. His 95.25 was streets ahead of anyone else.
Shuhei Sato, competing in his first World Cup, completed a Japanese one-two.
“I just got second,” he says. “It's very good. I am very happy."
With wind buffeting the nearly 7m pipe, conditions were tricky, and former Olympic champion Kelly Clark couldn't land her first run.
But in the second there were no such problems.
“It's never ideal when you fall in your first run for the year, but I was pleased I got back and landed it and got to the top of the podium,” says women’s winner Kelly Clark.
She scored 83 points to edge out France's Sophie Rodriguez.
Many of these athletes will be back this time next year for the winter games, as they again chase Olympic qualification points for the 2014 winter Olympics in Russia.
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