Oct. 22-26, PARIS
DAY 3 – CLASSIC FREESTYLE
THURSDAY's main disciplines were Slides and Jumps, FRIDAY did a close-up on Speed Slalom, as for Saturday, the third day of those 2014 World Championships of Freestyle Skating held in Paris, it was fully dedicated to Freestyle Classic Slalom. The discipline had been already introduced the day before with the category of Pair Classic and the senior women's qualifications.
SENIOR MEN'S CLASSIC QUALIFICATIONS
The day started with the senior men's qualifications – which took the whole morning to be completed: 4 groups of 9 to 10 skaters followed one another. Only the Top-2 of each group got their ticket to the big finals, that is to say: only 8 skaters qualified out of 37.
Nicolas Quiriconi (ITA, WR#24) and Dmitriy Shevarutin (RUS, #14) led the first group, leaving Andrea Rotunno (ITA, #40) and Gonzalo Cobo (ARG, #25) behind. Second Group was won hands down by Alexey Tsokolov (RUS, #17), followed by Ricardo Lopez (MEX, #22), leaving Hervé Guillou (FRA, #37) and Rodrigo Morgado (BRA, #89) high and dry. Antonio Castro (ESP, #18) was a cut above the rest in the third group, and Lee Jung Hyun (KOR, #27) took the second qualification spot, just in front of Alexandre Del Marmol (BEL, #34) who came close 3rd. In the last qualification group, the top-3 was pretty clear, unfortunately for Tiziano Ferrari (ITA, #29) who finished at the foot of the qualification, behind Kanchanok Sawangsri (THA, #20) and Carlos Nelson (ESP, #29).
The 12 best ranked skaters at the world ranking were already qualified for the finals. To that number were added the 8 selected skaters, for a final group of 20.
SR. MEN'S QUALIFICATION GROUP RANKINGS
JUNIOR MEN'S CLASSIC
Zhang Hao (CHN, #4) got the title back: After owning it for two years in a row -in 2011 and 2012- he had been deprived of the victory last year by Ye Hao Qin. Now that the main threat has moved up to the senior category, the coast is clear! The first place is unanimous. As well as the second place that goes to his team mate, Pan Yu Shuo (#35) – crowned world champion in speed slalom for the second time in a row on the prevous day.
Anson Chan Man Fung (HKG, #44) got the bronze, leaving French Nathan Ménard (#32) at the foot of the podium.
JUNIOR WOMEN'S CLASSIC
China also dominated the junior women's category with Feng Hui (#10) who wins the title for the fourth year in a row, and her team mate Guan Yu Xiang (#18) for the silver.
The bronze goes to Russian Sofia Bogdanova (#23), who was elected European skater with the most potential at the WSSA awards ceremony.
JUNIOR WOMEN'S PODIUM
SENIOR WOMEN'S CLASSIC FINALS
The senior women's finals gathered the 16 best ranked skaters of the competition and the 4 skaters who qualified on the previous day.
The category was won by current World No.1 and triple European Champion of Classic Daria Kuznetsova, putting an end to the Chinese domination of the category. That 7th edition of the WSSA WFSC is a turning point: It is the first time that a non-Chinese skater wins the senior women's category of classic! The Champion of the last two years, Su Fei Qian, finished on the second step of the podium. Contrary to Daria who managed a very clean and composed performance from A to Z, Su Fei Qian made an amazing start then got out of breath by the end of her run with repeated losses of balances.
The 3rd and 4th place were extremely close and the bronze finally went to Maryna Boiko (UKR, #5) at the expense of Klaudia Hartmanis (POL, #3).
SENIOR WOMEN'S PODIUM
SENIOR MEN'S CLASSIC FINALS
The Senior Men's category too witnesses a twist of fate: After three years of Korean suprematy -and three Chinese years before that- for the first time in the WSSA history of classic freestyle, the senior men's category was won by a European: Russian Sergey Timchenko, the current World No.1 and 2014 European Champion in Classic, with a run without a single cone kicked, with extremely strong technicality in trick combos and body control, that made up for a weaker artistic part: The tone was right, but the footwork still needs time to mature and develop.
Silver medallist was a whisker away from the first step: French Alexandre Claris (#5) was even ranked 1st by one of the scoring judges – that is to say how close the Top-2 was! His routine was extremely clean and well balanced, both in execution and composition, with high technical tricks performed to the music, and refined footwork that perfectly matched the tone. I may not be objective here, but this one was my personal favorite.
The first Asian skater is former junior Ye Hao Quin (CHN, #8), ranked 3rd with a good program including very high technical tricks... and a fall that cost him dearly.
2013 World Champion and Vice-Champion, Koreans Lee Choong Goon and Yu Jin Seong, respectively finished 10th and 6th, mainly for their lack of technical elements... LCG was also penalized in trick management for spending too much time out of the cones.
Polish Michal Sulinowski and Italian Lorenzo Guslandi closed the Top-5 (4 Europeans in the Top-5!) with very clean runs as for cones – finishing respectively 4th and 5th with zero and one cone down.
SENIOR MEN'S PODIUM
Check out the reviews of the first two days (links below) if you missed them, and stay tuned for the next review on the last discipline of those 2014 Worlds: BATTLE FREESTYLE!
Chloé Seyrès for WorldSlalomSeries.com
Photos by CP Slalom & Ksenija Komarchuk
Videos by TimTeam