Sun, Feb 16, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Austria retain grip on Super-G title

AGENCIES, Tokyo and SOCHI, Russia

Austria’s Anna Fenninger competes during the Women’s Alpine Skiing Super-G at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics yesterday.

Photo AFP

Austrian Anna Fenninger won the women’s Super-G at the Sochi Winter Games as she overcame warm weather to keep her country’s grip on the title.

The 24-year-old completed the course in 1 minute, 25.52 seconds, 0.55 seconds faster than Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch, 29. Fenninger’s compatriot Nicole Hosp, 30, won the bronze after taking the silver in the super combined.

Fenninger is the fourth Austrian to win the event in the eight games since it was added in 1988, and takes over from 2010 Olympic champion Andrea Fischbacher, who failed to make the Austrian squad this year. The course, set by Austrian Alpine skiing coach Florian Winkler, featured tight turns that helped cause eight of the first 11 starters to fail to finish.

“It’s such a difficult track, but I have to give praise to the coach who set the course because you have to be so tactical,” Fenninger said.

FIGURE SKATING

Japan celebrated Yuzuru Hanyu’s historic win in men’s figure skating at the break of dawn yesterday, rejoicing in the country’s first-ever gold medal in the Olympic event.

It was 4am in Japan when the 19-year-old native of Sendai beat out Patrick Chan of Canada to win the gold. With a rare snowfall blanketing the city, most Tokyoites stayed home to watch the moment live on television.

The last time Japan won gold at the Winter Olympics was eight years ago when Shizuka Arakawa took top honors in women’s figure skating in Turin.

Hanyu’s gold was a huge relief for Japan, a country that is constantly vying with its Asian rivals, China and South Korea, for supremacy at the winter games.

After favorite Sara Takanashi came up short in her bid for gold in women’s ski jumping, many Japanese were starting to worry that Sochi would be a repeat of Vancouver when the country failed to win a single gold medal.

Hanyu’s win brought Japan’s medal tally to one gold, two silver and one bronze as of press time.

China had two silvers to go with their two golds, while South Korea had a gold and a bronze.

Hanyu’s win also brought joy to the people of Sendai, a city hit hard by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Hanyu was practicing when the quake hit and was forced to run out of the arena while wearing his skates for fear the building would not withstand the record 9.0-magnitude tremor.

“I have received so much from the people in Sendai and the entire Tohoku region,” Hanyu was quoted as saying by the Sankei Sports newspaper. “I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for all the support from the people there.”

ALPINE SKIING

Switzerland’s Sandro Viletta won the men’s Olympic super-combined topping a shock podium that included neither favourites Ted Ligety of the US nor Frenchman Alexis Pinturault.

The 28-year-old, who had only one World Cup win and podium so far, won with a combined time of 2min 45.20sec, after one downhill and one slalom run.

Croatian veteran Ivica Kostelic was second at 0.34sec, bagging his fourth Olympic silver and third in the combined.

The result turned all predictions upside down as combined world champion Ligety and young gun Pinturault failed to even make the top 10 in the Valentine’s Day race.

ICE HOCKEY

Emma Eliasson scored with 4 minutes 15 seconds to play and Sweden beat defending bronze medalist Finland 4-2 in the Olympic women’s hockey quarter-finals yesterday — a reversal of the result from the third-place game four years ago.

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