World Cup title defenders with fantastic start into new season
Favourites claim victory at the World Cup Opener in New Zealand: Manuela Laura Pesko (SUI) (pictured above) and Ryoh Aono have won the first Halfpipe competition of the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup’s new season.
After the first ever World Cup event in New Zealand, which had had 23 ladies and 55 men from 17 nations, the reigning World Cup Champions are now the top aspirants for winning the battle for the Crystal Globe.
2007 World Champion Pesko secured her triumph with a solid second run in the finals scoring 42.1 points, relegating previous top spot holder, Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) to second space (41.7) and Clair Bidez (USA, 39.7) into third.
On the men’s side, Aono clinched his win with an outstanding first run (45.1). Iouri Podladtchikov finished second at his first appearance for Switzerland (43.2) being accompanied by his fellow countryman Rolf Feldmann (39.6) who took third.
Manuela Laura Pesko was all smiles regarding her perfect kick-off of the season: “I wasn’t really convinced of my first run so I decided to alter my attitude for the second, focusing more on the personal fun riding a halfpipe. That worked out pretty well and I was riding like I normally do. I’m very pleased with the result especially because you never know where you stand in the beginning of a new season.”
Ryoh Aono reiterated Pesko’s sentiment: “I wasn’t expecting anything special from this World Cup Opener – especially due to the fact that it was pretty windy out there. But it paid off that I worked really hard to have a good preparation for the new winter. I will try to keep hold of my World Cup title.”
Second place winner Lindsey Jacobellis from the USA said “It was fun riding today. I really enjoyed it because the weather held off. It turned out to be a better contest than I thought. I didn’t have any expectations entering the contest. I just looked what my body and the halfpipe allowed me to do. I’m happy with the result.”
Words: Rosalyn Gomersall