Brad Martin, Duckworth top Canadians at snowboard halfpipe event
Martin places 11th, Duckworth finishes 9th
Brad Martin of Ancaster, Ont., was 11th in the men's final and Alexandra Duckworth of Kingsburg, N.S., collected her second top-10 finish this season in Saturday's halfpipe event at the Snowboard Jamboree World Cup competition.
In men's halfpipe, Ryo Aono highlighted a big day for Japan taking the gold scoring 92.00 points. Jan Scherrer of Switzerland took home second with a score of 85.25 and Scotty James of Australia earned the bronze at 84.50.
Martin started his day placing sixth in the semifinal with landing both runs solidly. In the final, his first run score was 68.00. He went for broke on the second run attempting a frontside 1260 on the first hit but didn't land it, knocking him out of contention.
"I fell on my 1260 but it doesn't hurt my confidence," said Martin, a five-time World Cup medallist. "I still feel I can always win. It was a great thrill to once again compete in front of a home crowd. The fans here at Stoneham really go wild."
In the women's halfpipe, Japanese riders swept the medals with Rana Okada first at 85.60, Yuki Furihata second at 82.25 and Hikaru Oe third at 78.25.
Duckworth reached the semifinals following Friday's qualifying and was sixth in her heat for ninth overall, her seventh-top-10 world Cup finish in halfpipe. Her previous best this season was a sixth place in Finland last month.
The World Cup halfpipe and slopestyle events at the Jamboree in Stoneham, Que., are the last opportunity for Canadians to secure a spot for the Sochi Olympics. The final group for the Canadian snowboard team will be nominated on Tuesday. A first group was nominated on January 3 in Vancouver.
The slopestyle semis and finals on Sunday should prove to be the highlight of the entire event. Six Canadian men including top-qualifier Maxence Parrot of Cowansville, Que., as well as Brooke Voigt of Fort McMurray, B.C., for the women are scheduled to compete with the final spots for the Olympic team selection at stake.