Podladtchikov delights home crowd with win in Saas-Fee
SWITZERLAND'S Iouri Podladtchikov picked up where he left off last year to take victory on his first FIS Halfpipe World Cup outing of the season in his home country.
SECOND BEST: Japan's Ryo Aono, pictured at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, had to settle for second at the World Cup in Saas-Fee
The 23-year-old brought the curtain down on last term by topping the World Cup podium in Arosa and was immediately back at it on his return in Saas-Fee.
World silver medallist Podladtchikov took gold with a score of 95.3 well ahead of last year's overall runner-up Ryo Aono, who was awarded 91.3 and Finland's Janne Korpi with 87.0
His win puts him straight into third in the overall Halfpipe World Cup standings with 1000 points with Korpi, who won the opener in New Zealand in August, leading with 1600.
Meanwhile in an exact repeat of last year's World Cup finale in Arosa, Spaniard Queralt Castellet, like Podladtchikov did, took victory in the women's event.
In a six-strong final in Saas-Fee Castellet topped the podium after her first run produced a score of 87.0 - comfortably beating off the charge of France's Sophie Rodriguez.
However the fight for second was a much tighter affair with Rodriguez's score of 75.3 just enough to edge out home hopeful Ursina Haller who was awarded 75.0
World silver medallist Haller, who also finished third in the opening World Cup in Cardrona, leads the overall standings with Castellet, who ended 14th in New Zealand, now second.
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