It has been an incredible start to the 2023-2024 northern hemisphere winter for NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athletes with a gold medal overnight to mogul skier Jakara Anthony in Ruka, Finland, a silver medal in the big air in Beijing, China, for snowboarder Tess Coady, a bronze medal to Belle Brockoff in the World Cup snowboard cross event in Les Deux Alpes and two silver medals to Ben Tudhope at the Landgraaf, Netherlands Indoor Snowboard Para World Cup banked slalom.

It was the opening event of the season for the 2022 Olympic medallists, with Anthony winning for the second consecutive time to start the season in Ruka and for Coady the second place finish was the best big air result of her World Cup career.

Anthony put in a commanding performance, winning every stage of the mogul competition to record the ninth World Cup victory of her career.

In the super-final medal round, Anthony put down a flawless run to score 84.18 points, with a large victory margin of 4.5 points over second place finisher Elizabeth Lemley of the USA who scored 79.68 and fellow American Olivia Giaccio in third with 76.35 points.

“It’s been really awesome to go back-to-back last year and this year here in Ruka and really proud of the way I was able to ski out there and have a lot fun whilst I was doing it,“ said the 25-year-old from Barwon Heads in Victoria.

“It’s been a little different this year, we are missing Perrine (Laffont) and Anri (Kawamura), those girls I am usually mixing it up with, but still such a strong field in the women’s and it’s exciting to see everyone out there and pushing it.”

“We are definitely looking forward to hanging onto this (the yellow lead bib), but we will see what comes, I just want to go out there and have a crack and give it my best.”

In the men’s event dual 2023 World Championship medallist Matt Graham was unlucky not to make the super-final, missing out by one place in seventh. Also in the final was Cooper Woods in 16th, with Oliver Logan in 31st in his World Cup debut and George Murphy 38th.

The mogul skiing athletes will now head to the Swedish resort of Idre Fjäll for a double event next weekend on December 8-9.

In the first FIS World Cup event in China since the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, Tess Coady had the best big air finish of her career, taking home a silver medal in the city night event.

Competing in the three run final with your best two jumps counting, Coady scored 84.75 points in her opening back double 1080 melon jump, and then stepped it up in the final round with 86.25 points for her front 1080 double tail grab, giving her a two jump combined score of 171 points.

Recording victory was two-time Olympic big air champion Anna Gaser of Austria with 174 points, with Japanese rider Miyabi Onitsuka rounding out the podium scoring 170.50.

“Super happy with how this competition went in China, I love the jump, it’s one on the best city big airs in the world,” said the 23-year-old Coady from Melbourne.

“It’s been a really fun trip, it’s really cool to check out Beijing as last time we were here we didn’t get to see the city.”

Also in action for Australia was Valentino Guseli in 16th and Joshua Robertson-Hahn in 22nd.

Coady will now return home to Australia, with Guseli and Robertson-Hahn heading to Edmonton for the next big air World Cup event, where Guseli will be aiming to repeat his victory from last year at the Canadian city venue.

Australia’s aerial skiers and snowboard cross riders will be aiming to add to the weekend medal tally tonight in Europe, with the aerial skiers making their season debut in Ruka, Finalnd, with the Snowboard Cross athletes back-in-action in Les Deus Alpes, France, after they competed in a team event yesterday, with Australia finishing in fourth and fifth place.

Article and image courtesy of OWIA

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