Austria’s snowboarders won big at the World Championships in Bakuriani. Three medals and a complete set of medals looked out there in the parallel slalom.
The 42-year-old Salzburg Andreas Prommegger prevailed against his compatriot Arvid Auner in the final, while Fabian Obmann lost to the Canadian Arnaud Gaudet in the fight for bronze. Sabine Schöffmann won bronze against Germany’s Ramona Hofmeister. The title went to Julie Zogg in the Swiss duel against Ladina Jenny. For Austria it was medals number three to five, in the parallel giant slalom on Sunday there had already been silver for Daniela Ulbing and bronze for Alexander Payer, Schöffmann’s partner, who was injured on Tuesday in the qualification.
For Prommegger, the oldest snowboard world champion in history, it was the third world championship gold after two in 2017. “It was such a fight, from the morning until now, it was so exhausting. It was tough, visibility was poor, I had to trust the feeling. I believed in myself, but didn’t expect it. The boys are rockets, you have to take risks,” said Prommegger.
He initially prevailed against Edwin Coratti and Aaron March from Italy, in the semifinals he knocked out Gaudet. The chairman gave the Pole Oscar Kwiatkowski and the Bulgarian Radoslaw Yankow no chance. Auner knocked out Italy’s Marc Hofer and South Korea’s Lee Sangho. In the direct ÖSV duel, Auner had the edge. “I’m just enjoying my time now. I was finally able to apply what I had learned in training to a race,” said Auner, who was moved to tears.
It was the first medal for the 30-year-old Schöffmann. “Brilliant. I’m so happy that it finally worked out at a major event,” said Schöffmann, who “wasn’t quite mentally up to scratch” after her boyfriend’s injury.
Payer injured his knee
Claudia Riegler prevailed against the Pole Aleksandra Krol in the round of 16, after which she had to give way to Zogg and finished sixth overall. RTL Silver Daniela Ulbing lost to Jenny at the start and finished eleventh. In qualifying, defending champion Benjamin Karl, who made a mistake with the board (“I made the wrong choice, didn’t get the goal right”), failed in 32nd place and Martina Ankele in 22nd place. Payer fell and injured her knee.
The competition day dragged on, as the qualification had to be interrupted for a long time due to damage to the slopes on both courses due to preparation work. Already on Sunday, the athletes were consistently critical of the rough conditions. Promegger said he initially expected the race to be canceled. “We thought we wouldn’t drive anymore. Something like that takes a lot out of the substance.”
The team competition will follow at the World Cup on Wednesday (10 a.m., live on ORF 1). Austria is again one of the big favourites.