The ski resort of Espot hosted today the FIS Para Alpine Ski 2023 Giant Slalom test, a competition in which the two Spanish athletes registered for the world championships made their debut
In the women's category, the Austrian Veronika Aigner (Vision Impaired), the Swedish Ebba Aarsjoe (Women Standing) and the German Anna-Lenna Forster (Women Sitting) have been declared winners.
In the men's category, the Italian Giacomo Bertagnolli (Vision Impaired), the French Arthur Bauchet (Men Standing) and the Norwegian Jesper Pedersen (Men Sitting) head the podium.
The Espot Ski resort hosted today the Slalom race, one of the most technical races of the FIS Para Alpine Ski World Championships 2023, which had 85 participants. The first heat or round of the race started at 10:30 a.m. and with great anticipation on the Bosc 2 track, the setting for most of the competitions in these world championships. The second leg of the race started at 1:30 p.m.
Of the technical races, the Giant Slalom discipline is the fastest, and is carried out in two rounds or heats on different tracks that take place on the same track and on the same day. As a general rule, the best 30 runners from the first heat go on to participate in the second heat and start in the reverse order, so that the athlete who was in the first position in the first heat, will go last in the second
Today was one of the most anticipated for the Spanish duo formed by Audrey Pascual and María Martín-Granizo, because it marked their debut at the World Cup. Thus, after a few days of training at the Espot station and closely following the results obtained by all their opponents in the Super Giant, Alpine Combined and Downhill races, the Spanish women were able to make their debut.
Madrid's Audrey Pascual, in the Women Sitting category, came in 23rd position in the first heat, although she was unable to finish the race due to a fall that prevented her from participating in the second heat. For her part, the Leonese María Martín-Granizo, in the Women Standing category, made her debut at the World Championships starting in 19th position in the first heat, although a fall prevented her from continuing with the race.
Audrey Pascual and María Martín-Granizo, Spanish hope for adapted sports
Audrey Pascual (18 years old) was born in Madrid and started skiing at the age of 6. He skis with a chair that carries a ski and a shock absorber, supported by two stables that he carries in his hands and that help him initiate the turn and maintain stability on the snow. In 2022 she received the title of European Adapted Ski Champion in the Woman Sitting category. Regarding the 2023 FIS Para Alpine Ski World Championships in Espot, where she will compete in the Giant Slalom and Slalom events, Audrey Pascual has indicated that she is very excited to compete with such good people with whom she has not been able to match up until now : "we are not a very big team but we want to make ourselves known and explain that the Spanish team is also here".
María Martín-Granizo (16 years old) was born in León and started skiing at the age of 6, encouraged by a family that had always skied. The FIS Para Alpine Ski 2023 are her first world championships and she competes in the disciplines of Giant Slalom and Slalom, in the Woman Standing category. Maria has only one leg and to ski she uses two stables that help her keep her balance on the snow. At only 16 years old, she can already say that she is the driving force behind an initiative for the inclusion of people with disabilities, the #HazteIncluencer movement. Thus, despite combining skiing with his first year of high school studies, he also has time to fight for the rights of people with disabilities: "since I was a child I have competed against people without disabilities and this has made me work on inclusion" .
General races results
Regarding the general results of the Giant Slalom races that was held today at the Espot station, in the women's category, in the Vision Impaired class the winner was the Austrian Veronika Aigner (1:58: 41), while in the Women Standing class the Swedish Ebba Aarsjoe (2:01:16) was declared the winner and in the Women Sitting class it was the German Anna-Lenna Forster (2:14:20).
In the men's category, the Vision Impaired class was headed by the Italian Giacomo Bertagnolli (1:50:24), while the French Arthur Bauchet (1:56:80) won the first position in the Men Standing class and the Norwegian Jesper Pedersen (1:54:04) took first place in the Men Sitting class.
The podium of the Aigner brothers
Veronika, Barbara and Johannes Aigner are three Austrian siblings with reduced vision who are participating in the 2023 FIS Para Alpine Ski World Championships in the Vision Impaired category. All three took part in today's Giant Slalom races and managed to position themselves on the podium. Veronika Aigner, guided by her sighted sister Elisabeth Aigner, was declared the winner of the female category in the Vision Impaired class, while her sister Barbara Aigner took third place, guided by Klara Sykora. As for Johannes, he has achieved second place in the Vision Impaired men's category, accompanied by his guide Andrea Ravelli.
The results that determine the podiums of the Giant Slalom race are as follows:
Women Vision Impaired
1: Veronika Aigner (AUT) - 1:58:41 (Guide: Elisabeth Aigner)
2: Menna Fitzpatrick (GBR) - 2:03:64 (Guide: Katie Guest)
3: Barbara Aigner (AUT) - 2:05:62 (Guide: Klara Sykova)
1: Ebba Aarsjoe (SWE) - 2:01:16
2: Anna-Maria (GER) - 2:05:16
3: Andrea Rothfuss (GER) - 2:07:86
1: Anna-Lenna Forster (GER) - 2:14:20
2: Laurie Stephens (USA) - 2:26:90
Nette Kivitanta (FIN) - 2:28:00
Men Vision Impaired
1: Giacomo Bertagnolli (ITA) - 1:50:24 (Guide: Andrea Ravelli)
2: Johannes Aigner (AUT) - 1:51:29 (Guide: Matteo Fleischmann)
3: Neil Simpson (GBR) - 1:51:52 (Guide: Rob Path)
1: Arthur Bauchet (FRA) - 1:56:80
2: Theo Gmuer (SUI) - 1:57:28
3: Federico Pelizzari (ITA) - 1:58:78
1: Jesper Pedersen (NOR) - 1:54:04
2: Jeroen Kampschreur (NED) - 1:54:83
3: Niels De Langen (NED) - 1:57:84
Tomorrow at 5:00 p.m., Espot City Council will host the Captains Meeting, the daily meeting in which FIS members announce the Start List for the next race. Tomorrow, January 27, no competition will be held and the athletes will take the opportunity to rest before facing the last two events of the world championships: Slalom Women and Slalom Men, on January 28 and 29, respectively.
Check the results here.