A group of skiers compete in a cross-country race

France and Russia dominate at 2019 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Alpine and Nordic Skiing Worlds

French and Russian skiers grabbed the majority of gold medals on offer at the 2019 International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Skiing World Championships in France between 7-10 March.

The competition featured alpine and cross-country skiing at Lans en Vercors and Autrans respectively.

France’s Thomas Girard grabbed three out of a possible four golds in the men’s alpine skiing II1.

Girard’s (1:38.28) first victory in the slalom on the opening day of competition saw him lead two of his teammates onto the podium.

Antoine Maure (1:39.24) took silver ahead of Antoine Martinato (1:40.66).

Girard (1:11.08) then skied to the win in the super-G to beat Japan’s defending champion Yoshihide Kimura (1:12.32). Japan enjoyed another podium courtesy of Yusuke Kizuki (1:13.86) in third.

The Frenchman then secured the win in the super-combined in 2:49.36. Martinato and Maure were second and third respectively for another all-French top three.

It was Kimura who managed to break Girard’s dominance in the giant slalom, winning in 1:51.96. Girard (1:57.43) settled for silver while compatriot Martinato (2:00.14) claimed bronze.

A skier with down syndrome

In the men’s slalom II2, France’s Paul Riche (1:56.72) was the only skier to dip under one minute in both of his runs to take gold.

Austria’s Markus Grameiser (2:03.74) was second, followed by Japan’s Hiroki Miyoshi (2:04.97).

Riche swept the board in all four disciplines, also wining the giant slalom, alpine-combined and super-G

Grameiser achieved a 100 per cent podium record with a further silver from the super-G and alpine-combined and bronze from giant slalom.

In the women’s II1, Austria’s Eva Maria Dunser and the Czech Republic’s Denisa Macurova shared the golden gongs.

Macurova (1:59.31) claimed first blood in the slalom on the opening day. Japan’s Kayo Matsumoto (2:04.65) was second, followed by Austria’s Stefanie Swatz (2:15.28).

Dunser took over during the giant slalom storming to two leading runs to finish first with a combined time of 1:58.16.

Macurova (2:08.26) was second and was followed onto the podium by Tuba Celik Tekin (2:20.64) of Turkey with bronze.

The Austrian was once again victorious in the super-G with a top three that exactly mirrored the giant slalom.

Macurova however doubled up in the alpine-combined, followed by Matsumoto and Zwatz.

In the women’s II2, Finland’s Bea Westerstrahle was the victor. The Fin was joined by Poland’s Agnieska Kociolek in silver and her teammate Patrycja Strama in third.

The Japanese team of Kimura, Miyoshi and Matsumoto won gold in the parallel giant slalom. Austria’s Alexander Haissl, Grameiser and Dunser were second followed by Italy’s Manuel Volgger, Gabriele Rondi and Kathrin Oberhauser.

Nordic skiing

Russia dominated on the cross-country tracks with multiple wins for Ivan Volegov and Irina Guber in the II1 category.

In the men’s Volegov claimed victory in the 10km classic and 15km freestyle races.

In the 10km he led teammate Ivan Martiushev by a 17 second margin. Estonia’s Hans Teearu was third.

Volegov stood on top of the podium in the 15km, ahead of Poland’s Patryk Jakiela. Another Russian, Aleksandr Sorokin, rounded off the podium with bronze.

In the men’s II2, France’s Clement Colomby swept the board with golds from the 10km and 15km.

The women’s events were dominated by Guber who took wins in the 1.2km sprint, 5km and 10km races.

In the sprint, Victoria Prokofieva proved no match for her compatriot who had led the qualification and semi-finals. The Russian finished second in the final in front of Poland’s Magorzata Pernal in third.

The 10km featured another dominant display from Guber with Pernal this time claiming silver. Elena Shchukina added another medal for Russia with bronze.

Guber led an all Russian top three in the 5km as Prokofieva finished second and Alfia Gubaidulina third.

Russian skiers with an intellectual impairment stand on the podium

Rounding off the action was the men’s, women’s and mixed relays. Russia took both the men’s and women’s but Poland broke their form in the mixed.

Jakiela, Jerzy Krzanowski and Pernal forced the Russians into second, crossing the line 13 seconds ahead of their opponents to grab gold. Martiushev, Volegov and Prokofieva took silver followed by Italy’s Luca Berardi, Peter Schroffenegger and Silvia Cattaneo.