Valentino Guseli wins the FIS World Cup Halfpipe Big Air at Calgary

Australian teen snowboard prodigy and NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athlete Valentino Guseli has recorded his first career victory in the halfpipe event, with an impressive gold medal performance in Calgary, Canada.

In the best of three fun final, the 18-year-old lead from start to finish, with the highest scoring opening round run with 89.25 points, and then went even better in the second run increasing his score to 91.50.

When no other riders were able to match Guseli’s scores from the first two runs, Guseli was able to complete a “victory lap” in the third and final run celebrating with the large crowd on his way down the Calgary halfpipe.

Behind Guseli on the podium were Japanese riders Ruka Hirano in second place with a best score of 88.25 points, and Shuichiro Shigeno in third on 86.75 points.

Guseli now has eight career World Cup medals competing in the three park and pipe disciplines of halfpipe, slopestyle, and big air, with one victory so far in each of the halfpipe and big air disciplines.

“I really do like Canada, the two wins I have had in a World Cup are in Canada, and I am super happy,” said the 2023 World Championship medallist from Dalmeny on the NSW South Coast.

“The pipe was great, the snow was great, and the crowd was great, my favourite thing is when there is a massive crowd out to support us.”

“Today was a good day, I landed all of my runs, and I am happy.”

Valentino Guseli

Fellow NSWIS athlete Abi Harrigan finished first place in the women’s slopestyle at the Europa Cup in La Clusaz, France while Paralympian Ben Tudhope claimed the silver medal in the men’s Para Snowboard Cross World Cup in Pyha, Finland.

Dual Olympic medallist and triple World Champion Scotty James tweaked his knee during training at the event and withdrew before the qualifying round.

The final World Cup halfpipe rankings for the season has Hirano of Japan in first place on 300 points, Guseli second on 230, and James one point behind in third on 229.

In the women’s event two-time Olympian Emily Arthur finished eighth in the final.

Guseli will now turn his attention to the slopestyle discipline, with World Cup events taking place in Spindleruv Mlyn in the Czech Republic on March 16 and Silvaplana in St Moritz, Switzerland, on March 23.

Article and Image courtesy of OWIA

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