Oct. 22-26, PARIS
DAY 2 – SPEED SLALOM & PAIR CLASSIC
After Slides and Jumps on the FIRST DAY, Speed Slalom was the key-discipline of that second day of competition in Paris for the World Championships of Freestyle. The qualifications and the final phases of KO systems took most of the day to be completed.
And to finish the day with a flourish, Classic Freestyle appetizers followed, with the Pair competition and the Senior Women's qualifications...
SPEED SLALOM QUALIFICATIONS
The JUNIOR MEN were 19 to try their luck to rank in the Top-8 and qualify for the final phases of the afternoon. Hong Kong and China dominated the qualifications, with Anson Chan Man Fung in the lead (HKG, WR#48 – best: 4.423), closely followed by Zhang Hao (CHN, #55 – best: 4.434). Only two Europeans managed to go through and ranked in the second half of the Top-8.
The JUNIOR WOMEN were 20 for 8 spots in the KO systems. Lu Qian Qian ranked in first position (CHN, WR#29 – best: 4.806) and two girls from Chinese Taipei, Lo Pei Yu (#56) and Su Yu Jou (#100), also in the 4.8's, closed the Top-3. French Lily Granjon (#12) was the first European to qualify, in 4th position, and the last skater to perform under the 5.0's.
The senior categories were a bit more crowded with 33 women and 57 men for their trials. The competitors had to rank in the Top-16 to skate in the final phases.
In the SENIOR WOMEN's, Wang Tzu Chien (TPE, WR#1 – best: 4.796) was clearly a cut above the rest, with a good 0.15 sec lead over the second qualified skater, Cristina Rotunno (ITA, #5 – best: 4.942). The Top-5 was under the 5.0's. The panel of qualified countries was quite varied with representatives for Taipei and Italy of course, but also France, Iran, Russia, Poland and China.
The leader of the SENIOR MEN's trials was Savio Brivio (ITA, WR#3) with two rocket times in the 4.1's. Even with one penalty he was still faster than the 2nd ranked skater, Chinese Ye Hao Qin (#52 – best: 4.414).
The senior men's category was uncompromising and left a handful of world class speed slalomers high and dry! Exit Lorenzo Guslandi (ITA, WR#8 – ranked 21th with 4.722), Alexey Tsokolov (RUS, #11 - 22nd with 4.745), Romain Lebois (FRA, #6 - 25th with 4.811) and Michal Sulinowski (POL, #7 - 26th with 4.824). However there is nothing to be ashamed of, if you put times into perspective: The Top-5 was under the 4.5's, and the Top-12 under the 4.6's! The 16th and last qualified ran in 4.654. The bar of the 4.7's was finally crossed with place 19th and 29 skaters were under the 5's...
Let's also mention that the senior men's was the only category where the number of qualified European skaters exceeded that of Asians! (10 vs. 6).
SPEED SLALOM KO SYSTEMS
In the JUNIOR MEN'S, the two only Europeans to have made it through to the final phase were kicked out in two runs, as soon as the first round.
The semi-finals were quickly set and done: Two runs were enough in both groups for Pan Yu Shuo (CHN, WR#47) and Xiao Bing Sheng (TPE, #95) to get rid of Anson Chan Man Fung (HKG, #48) and Zhang Hao (CHN, #55).
The finals were just as quick: It took two runs to Anson Chan Man Fung to secure the bronze, against a very messy Zhang Hao, and two runs too to Pan Yu Shuo to seize the title, against a slower Xiao Bing Sheng.
The JUNIOR WOMEN'S KO competition was just as quick as the junior men's, with all groups but the consolation final completed in two runs. Chiara Puricelli (ITA, WR#16), Lily Granjon (FRA, #12), Su Yu Jou (TPE, #100) and Justyna Czapla (POL, #14) were kicked out respectively by Lu Qian Qian (CHN, #29), Guan Yu Xiang (CHN, #60), Feng Hui (CHN, #32) and Lo Pei Yu (TPE, #56).
Future finalists Lu Qian Qian and Lo Pei Yu both run in the 5.4's, that is to say 0.1 sec faster than their respective opponents: Their fates were sealed in two runs.
Guan Yu Xiang and Feng Hui met in Consolation Final, for the only 3-run group -and the tightest- of the junior women's competition: Two very clean opponents of the same level, running in the 5.4's and 5.5's. The bronze medal went to Feng Hui, who won after a cone penalty by her team mate on the decision run.
In finals, Lu Qian Qian shifted up a gear and went down in the 5.3's. Lo Pei Yu tried to speed up too, but couldn't stand the pressure and lost the final on a disqualification (4+ penalties) at the 2nd run.
In the SENIOR WOMEN'S category, heavy loses were to declare as soon as the first round. Three top skaters, Chiara Lualdi (ITA, WR#9), Cristina Rotunno (ITA, #5) and European champion Tiffany Derisbourg (FRA, #4) experienced the same fatal pressure on their third run, and were kicked out in 1/8 finals.
The clearing went on with the 1/4 finals: Kristina Lysenko (RUS, #7) yielded after a three-run fight against Arabi Laya (IRI, #86) who is now playing with the big girls, while Zoé Granjon (FRA, #3) got rid of Klaudia Hartmanis (POL, #6) in two perfect runs.
The 1/2 finals were crystal clear: Laya and Zoé were no match against their opponents, who were none other than the world leaders, Wang Tzu Chien (TPE, #1) and Barbara Bossi (ITA, #2).
The Iranian and the French met in consolation final. The latter quickly took the advantage, although the fight had promised to be tighter – they both run in the 5.6's. After a first run won with a 0.01 sec lead, Zoé easily secured the bronze in the second run against a disqualification for finish line penalty on Laya's side.
It was now time for the FINAL! The tension was palpable. On the one line was Wang Tzu Chien, the 2013 World Champion and current World No.1. On the other line stood Barbara Bossi, the 2011 and 2010 World Champion, current World No.2 and former No.1.
After one victory on each side, the world leader gave the final blow on the third run: A perfect run in 5.359 against 5 penalties for the Italian.
The SENIOR MEN'S KO competition was full of twists and turns! And surprises happened as soon as the 1/8 finals. World Leader Simone Nai Oleari (ITA, WR#1) was eliminated by French outsider Alan Rayer (#37) in two runs.
Those 1/8f. also witnessed two fritricidal groups. The first was Chinese, with Guo Fang (#2) finally getting the upper hand on Zheng Jia Ming (#21) after three runs... in the 5.0's! The second
group was French: Alexandre Claris (#4) got a well-deserved victory over Yohan Fort (#18) after 3 insane runs under the bar of the 5.0's... on both sides! Welcome to the 1/8 finals of the World
In 1/4 finals, two out of the three remaining French skaters won their groups, as well as Ye Hao Qin and Savio Brivio, the leader of the trials. But what will actually be remembered of that round is that SAVIO BRIVIO ESTABLISHED A NEW WSSA WORLD RECORD IN 4.766!! ...Leaving no chance to former World No.1 and triple world champion Guo Fang, dropped 0.3 sec behind...
In 1/2 finals, Savio Brivio and Jimmy Fort made short work of Alexandre Claris and Ye Hao Qin with two perfect runs.
Alexandre Claris didn't manage to hold the pressure and lost the consolation final on a cone disqualification at the second run. He finishes at the foot of the podium behind Chinese Ye Hao Qin.
The finals gathered brand-new world record holder Savio Brivio (ITA, WR#3) and current European Champion Jimmy Fort (FRA, WR#9). The prospect of such a meeting was exciting... But unfortunately, the show didn't live up to the expectations. The French got disqualified on his first run for having set his foot down, offering the advantage to his opponent. And the second run was won by Savio with a 0.015 lead: (4.793 +2p. > 5.193) against (5.007 + 1p. > 5.207). The dices were cast.
The least to say is that, with a world record and a world title, Savio Brivio made good use of his day!
As soon as the men's speed final was completed, the competition went on with the next discipline, the one that was going to fully monopolize the next day: CLASSIC FREESTYLE. The first category was that or Pair Freestyle to which 8 pairs had registered.
The overall level was quite homogeneous, with good quality routines for most pairs. Yet, no pair managed to perform a flawless run.
The winners are Chinese Zhang Hao and Guo Fang with a routine that started far better than it finished. However, their synchronization, together and to the music, was precise, their performance punchy and their music expression very accurate.
The Timchenko brothers, Alexandr and Sergey, owe their silver medal to the high technicality of their run. Their footwork was less refined and lacked synchronization, but the precision of their technical tricks made up of it.
As for the bronze, it goes to Italians Lorenzo Guslandi and Tiziano Ferrari who presented an efficient musical performance. No major desynchronization was to be noticed, contrary to most of the other pairs.
Let's note a performance of similar quality by the other Italian pair, Nicolas Quiriconni and Andreas Rotunno, who would have been much higher ranked if it hadn't been for the heavy penalties.
Enjoy the videos of the podium below!
1st: ZHANG HAO & GUO FANG (CHN)
2nd: SERGEY & ALEXANDR TIMCHENKO (RUS)
3rd: L. GUSLANDI & T. FERRARI (ITA)
SR WOMEN'S CLASSIC QUALIFICATIONS
The day finished with the qualifications of the senior women's category for classic freestyle, with 10 competitors skating to get one of the 4 spots available for the finals of the next day...
French Salomé Pham Van Hué unanimously took the lead of those qualifiers, for her run to a violin air with original footwork and good amplitude.
The following places were more mitigated. Yet all judges agreed that Bohdana Hotsko (EUR), the brand-new Slides Champion, was in the Top-4 and therefore qualified, despite heavy penalties. The 3rd spot went to Italian Barbara Codazzi who got an equivalent time penalty. Both women performed pepsy and musical runs.
Ukrainian Margaryta Boiko took the last spot, despite a poor footwork and messy trick endings, leaving Australian Natalie Ujuk, who may have lacked a little pure technical highlight but provided
very musical and refined footwork, at the threshold of the qualification...
Check out DAY 1 REVIEW on Slides, Jumps and Battle qualifications if you missed it, and stay tuned for the next review on the classic freestyle competitions of DAY 3!
WFSC Paris 2014 DAY 1: Slides, Jumps & Battle Qualifiers
- WFSC Paris 2014 DAY 3: Classic
- WFSC Paris 2014 DAY 4: Battle
Chloé Seyrès for WorldSlalomSeries.com
Photo by Ksenija Komarchuk