After a false start to their season, Australia’s Para-alpine skiers have finally hit the slopes to commence the IPC World Para-alpine Skiing World Cup campaign in Kuhtai, Austria.

The first World Cup of the season in St. Moritz, Swizterland was cancelled last week due to poor weather conditions, meaning this week’s competition was key for Australia’s athletes vying for the necessary qualification points required for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games in March.

Seven Australians were in action on the giant slalom course, headlined by reigning World Champion and Co-captain Mitchell Gourley who placed 10th over two runs, with a final time of 2:05.16.

PyeongChang 2018 hopeful Patrick Jensen (B2) and sighted guide Lara Falk placed 10th in the men’s vision impaired class, with two runs to finish with a time of. 2.24.21.

The Australian women’s Para-alpine skiing team also drew some learnings from the start of their season, with two-time Paralympian Melissa Perrine and Sochi 2014 representative Tori Pendergast both unable to complete the course.

Australian women’s coach Christian Geiger said: “There were some real positives and troubles that came out of today’s competition. I’m pleased with the start and the girls are in a good position.”

“Mel was in second place after her first run, just 0.04s off Henrietta Farkasova (SVK) and three seconds ahead of third place, but her ski pre-released in the second run.”

While the vital error in the second run lost her a medal, Perrine is encouraged by her first run to feel confident ahead of tomorrow’s competition.

“The first run was nice and solid, we managed to go to the second run sitting in second which was encouraging. We had a couple of errors to fix up, and that was the plan for the second run. Unfortunately I had a malfunction and my ski decided to go flying in the other direction, so you know, I’m encouraged by it and looking forward to trying to put two solid runs together.”

Like Perrine, Tori Pendergast made a tactical mistake which cost her a final placing.

““It didn’t go to plan, I was happy with the skiing, but unfortunately I made a tactical error. I tried to go a bit too hard in the top section of the course, but it’s something to take note for the next race in Kuhtai.”

In other results, Australia’s emerging Para-alpine skiiers Jonty O’Callaghan, Mark Soyer and Shaun Pianta, along with guide Jeremy O’Sullivan competed in their respective classes, but were unable to complete the course.

Competition will resume tonight at 10:00 CET, with all the action being live streamed via the IPC website here.

By APC Media

Posted: 20/12/2017