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15 • 11 • 2015

Several podium places for other countries in Baltic cup

Last Sunday in Lithuanian south city Druskininkai ended the first stage of Baltic cup in alpine skiing, organised by Latvian Skiing association with support of “Snow arena” – the indoor winter complex, where the competition took place. It was also historic competition, because for the first time in Lithuania was held FIS race in alpine skiing. This was also the first stage of Baltic cup that gathered in all groups, including youth and masters, more than 260 alpine skiers from 13 countries. Besides Baltic states not only nearest region countries were present, but also alpine skiers from distant places like Spain and Turkey participated. In FIS race altogether 69  athletes took part – 30 ladies and 39 men. Due to course profile, participants had to make three slalom runs.

In FIS Entry league slalom Latvia grabbed all the victories, because both days superior in the men’s field was world ranked no.65 in slalom Kristaps Zvejnieks, but for ladies 165th place holder Lelde Gasuna remained undefeated. Kristaps Zvejnieks was the sole participant in the men’s field, the slalom ranking of whom was not only under 10 FIS points (9,57), but also under 20 points, so therefore no surprise that with good runs he won without close rivalry. But in the ladies field it was expected that besides her Latvian teammates also Belorussian Maria Shkanova would be one of real contenders for victory with Sochi 30th place winner in slalom Lelde Gasuna, but best ranked slalomist from Belorussia (158th place in slalom ranking), who had her first indoor competition, finished just behind podium on first day, and on next she was unfortunately out in early stage, by not completing the first run. On the first day Evelina Gasuna and Sochi 31st in Super-G Agnese Aboltina secured whole podium for Latvia, but another two podium places for organising country provided Miks Zvejnieks on Saturday and younger sister Gasuna on Sunday, who both earned second place and were best in U21 group.

Although they did not win, the other countries however did not remain without podium places. On Saturday the only non-Latvian podium place took Czech Daniel Paulus, who was third fastest men in three runs. If K.Zvejnieks won convincingly, than next four alpine skiers, fighting for remaining podium places, were quite close to each other on Saturday and Sunday. This quartet from second to fifth place actually consisted from the same participants both days, but in different positions in each race. On Sunday came turn for another two men to squeeze in top3. Slovakian Roman Murin on the last run overtook Belorussian Yuri Danilochkin and took second place, but two times top20 finisher in World championships in Alpine combined discipline Danilochkin earned third place. On Saturday local crowd was delighted by sixth place winner and third best junior Rokas Zaveckas, but on the second day top6 were completed by Slovakian Vladimir Siran. Meanwhile another Slovakian Jakub Kupcak, who was second ranked (25,74 FIS points), managed only the 8th place on first day.

On Sunday Latvia was very close to another clean sweep podium in ladies competition, but Liene Bondare was outclassed just by two hundredths of seconds by promising Russian youngster Anastasia Gornostaeva, who was the only non-Latvian on the podium, taking into account both races. Gornostaeva is just 16 and compets only first year in junior group. Another youngster and first year junior, but from Czech Republic, Sona Moravcikova finished in 6th  and 5th place accordingly, but Tatyana Tikun with the 6th place earned only top6 finish for Ukrainians on Sunday.

Slovakian Roman Murin, who was best in U21 group on the second day and second in overall rankings was happy about his results and shared his view:” With my results I'm surely satisfied. It was my first race after knee injury. I was out of skiing about two years. Over the past year and a half I had 3 surgeries, so I am very happy that my knee works like it should. I hope that these results I will perform the whole season. This race wasn't "normal race" but it was like "sprint", but race was perfectly organized. The course was also well prepared,” Murin is praising the organiser’s job. Slovakian also tells about Zvejnieks brothers and his rivalry with Miks. “I know them both, but I know better Miks than Kristaps. Me and Miks are the same year of birth so we competed to each other since we were children. I think that our results were quite equal. Maybe last 1 or 2 years before I got injured Miks was a little better than me,” admits Roman and adds  with the smile, that he is very happy that he could beat Miks this time.

About youth and master groups in the next article.

The speaker of competiton,
Ivars Bācis 

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