Gold for Sweden and Japan in Japan WC

Makomanai/Sapporo (JPN). Another sunny day at Makomanai made today’s eighth Halfpipe of the 1999/2000 NOKIA Snowboard FIS World Cup a perfect one. Sweden’s Fredrik Sterner and Yoko Miyake from Japan took the wins.

Sunshine all day with just a little snow shower before noon time not only made the riders and about 1,000 spectators have fun at the Halfpipe competition, it also helped a lot to improve the conditions of the pipe which some riders had complained about after the first training earlier this week. After hard work of the organising committee and FIS responsible David Ny over the past couple of days everyone liked it and confirmed that it was in perfect shape today.

The Swedes made it their competition especially in the mens’ event with six of them having qualified for the final. Two Finns and Japanese took the other four spots to compete for the medals.

Sweden’s Fredrik Sterner, fourth after the qualification, took the lead ahead of his teammate Tommy Johansson after the first run and it looked like either of those two would be able to take the gold. Johansson increased his score in the second by 0.3 points while Sterner fell in his second but this didn’t touch his result and he finally claimed his second win this season.

“My first run was one with pretty good height and good tricks, the first spin was nice but I didn’t like the last one,” he said, “I’m happy I won but I would have loved to do a better second run also. The pipe was probably one of the best so far, David has done a really good job.”

Johansson took second place and confirmed Sterner’s statement. “It was a super good pipe today, good riding so I really wanted to win,” he said, “I don’t know why I couldn’t make it since I didn’t have any mistakes really but maybe Frederik just got the little bit more, I didn’t see his run, but second is ok also.”

NOKIA World team rider Pasi Voho from Finland finished third ahead of Sterner’s cousin Markus and by this hindered the Swedes from taking all the medals. “After a couple of good runs in competitions I know I can do it. I didn’t think too much about a podium today, just tried my best and wanted to get the public a good show.”

For the third consecutive time he made it to the top three today.

Johansson is further leading the standings ahead of Fredrik Sterner. Voho moved up from seventh to third.

Yoko Miyake got the Japanese a gold in the women’s competition, the first-ever World Cup win for the 27-year-old student from Nara. “I did only two contests on the tour last year,” she said, “but have been around from the beginning of this season and the best result was 12th so far. I’m really happy that I could take this first win here in Japan. I didn’t calculate it at all but it was so much fun riding today, the shape of the pipe was really good, maybe that also helped.”

NOKIA World team rider Sabine Wehr-Hasler from Germany finished second and could reduce the gap to Anna Hellman from Sweden, who is still leading the standings, down to 80 points. “The middle parts of my runs could still be improved,” Wehr-Hasler said, “but especially the back flip towards the end work pretty well now. You need to take the full risk if you want to make it to the podium.”