Saas Fe, Switzerland—Japan dominates the Halfpipe contest in Switzerland: Melo Imai and Kazuhiro Kokubo have won the third Halfpipe competition of the NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup 2005/2006. 2005 World Cup winner Melo Imai successfully relegated Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) and Doriane Vidal from France to the second and third spot in the ladies’ final in Saas-Fee. In the men’s competition, her fellow countryman Kazuhiro Kokubo took the Gold medal with 45.9 points due to his outstanding performance with amazing spins and huge airs.
Double World Champion and World Cup leader Antti Autti from Finland came in second. Vinzenz Lueps (GER) completed the podium as third. When Kazuhiro Kokubo noticed his points, the 17 years-old Japanese started his private celebration party in the finish area although the leader after the first run, Vinzenz Lueps, was still on the top waiting for his second try. But a few minutes later, Kokubo had grabbed his career’s first World Cup triumph: “I’m super happy. Yesterday, I knew that I could adapt my height in this pipe but I didn’t do it in the qualification. So I’m glad that I managed it in the final. Second ranked Antti Autti was also pleased with the result: “After I fell in the first run I did a safety run in the second one. Thus, I’m fine with the podium. Vinzenz Lueps was celebrating some kind of comeback although he bailed right at the beginning of his second run: “I wanted to attack once more but did a mistake right at my first hit. Thereafter, I lost my concentration. I’m glad to be on the podium because I wasn’t able to ride so many Halfpipe events last year due to my injuries.
Although she showed an impressing Frontside 9 right before the finish line in her second run, Lindsey Jacobellis had to accept the victory of Melo Imai. The US-American said after the final: “It was my season’s first Halfpipe contest today. Thus, I’m pleased with the result although I was a little bit shaky. But I gave my best.
Current changes and updates can be gathered from the FIS homepage: www.fis-ski.com Photo footage will be available for download on the FIS ftp-server: ftp://ftp.fisski.ch