Berchtesgaden (GER). Despite continuous snow falls and some fog at the “Götschen” the Juniors competed for their first medals at the 2000 FIS Snowboard Junior World Championships in Berchtesgaden today. Austria’s Andreas Prommegger and Julie Pomagalski from France took the first gold medals in an exciting Parallel Giant Slalom race.
A total of more than 300 riders from 27 nations registered for this event which is the biggest number of entries in the history of the FIS Snowboard Junior Worlds. Half of the, 104 men and 55 women have been at the start this morning with 16 of them qualifying for both the mens’ and the womens’ finals. Three Austrians and one Japanese had made their way up to the semi finals.. 1999 vice World Champion in Giant Slalom Andreas Prommegger from Austria was the number one contender for the gold among those but also Japan’s Suguru Sasaki looked as if he could do it today. Winning both runs in the final duel Promegger finally claimed the win. “This is my last year with the juniors,” he said, “and it went well. I hoped for a good result, also since last year’s World champion is not a junior anymore. The slope was pretty nice and in good shape, just the visibility was a problem sometimes.” Sasaki took the silver, the first-ever for a Japanese alpine snowboard rider. “This was a perfect course for me,” he said, “this morning I was quite confident to make it to the top three. I’m so glad I made it to second place.” Lukas Grüner got the Austrian Snowboard Team another medal with taking the bronze. He faced his teammate Lukas Prem in the duel for third place and won with a total of 34 hundreds of a second. “I kind of had it in my hands,” Gruener said, “but it’s also nice to have the best friend taking the win.”
Berchtesgaden really seems to be a good place for France’s Julie Pomagalski. Last year she became World Champion in Snowboard Cross there and added another title by winning today’s race. “This is our race and it’s so good to be up on top,” she said, “I just used my chances today and hope I can also do it on the World Cup tour. 16-year-old Austrian Heidi Krings won the silver. “It was just great,” she said, “unfortunately I almost had a crash right before the finish but it’s a great success for me anyway. I think this gives me some confidence also for the remaining races of the season.” Her teammate Nina Schlegel took the bronze medal by beating Dutch rider Marieke Sauerbreij in the duel for third place. “I was calculating top three so I’m fine,” said Schlegel who didn’t manage to defend the title from last year, “I would have loved to be even more in front since this is my last year as a junior but third is all right.”
The Halfpipe is scheduled for tomorrow with the qualification starting at 9h30, the finals will be held for 13h30. More head-to-head racing can be watched on Sunday at the Parallel Slalom.