Snow sports: Olympic places at stake

Arthur Klap.
Arthur Klap.
This week, Olympic attention will be turned towards winter sports athletes, with the first qualifying events for the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in Wanaka.

The FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Ski Halfpipe World Cups will be staged at Cardrona tomorrow for the skiers and this Saturday and Sunday for the snowboarders.

More than 200 athletes from 26 countries will perform tricks, flips, back-to-back rotations and big air grabs in a 22ft superpipe.

Aside from the potential to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, athletes will also be competing for a combined prize pool of $115,000.

Winter Games New Zealand chief executive Arthur Klap said the high calibre of entrants showed how important the event was.

"Both events are going to be great for the competitors, as well as the spectators," Klap said.

"Snow sports competitions in New Zealand have certainly raised the bar over the past five years and this will continue through to next season when we host the 2013 Winter Games NZ.

"The 2013 games will include at least five world cups and feature many who will go on to podium at Sochi."

Both the men's and women's ski and snowboard events have current world champions confirmed as competitors.

New Zealand will be represented by Janina Kuzma and Rose Battersby in the women's freestyle ski competition, Jossi Wells and Lyndon Sheehan for the men's ski section and Ben Stewart, James Hamilton and Rebecca Sinclair for the freestyle snowboard event.


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