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7 Mar, 2010 15:04

Olympic heroes stumble at snowboarding event in Moscow

The world's top snowboarders competed over the weekend in Moscow for the World Cup leg of the parallel slalom.

Out of the six snowboarding medalists from the Winter Games in Vancouver, five of them were in the Russian capital on Saturday for the World Cup leg. But only one managed to get back on the podium this time around.

Ekaterina Ilukhina, who took home silver in the Vancouver Games, failed to repeat those successes before a home crowd, falling out of the competition in quarterfinals.

With the rest of the Russian ladies getting knocked out of the competition even earlier, the pressure was on Alyona Zavarzina to keep the home crowd’s hopes alive.

In the end, she came in fourth place, confessing it was far from being satisfactory.

“I liked this course, it suits me,” Zavarzina told reporters after the contest. “Though I felt some pressure performing in front of the home crowd, which I would never like to disappoint. But I still aim to win the World Cup and will keep giving my best to achieve that.'''

Meanwhile, both the 2010 Olympic champions Nicolien Sauerbreij and bronze medalist Marion Kreiner failed to even qualify.

So the final run of the ladies' competition saw an Austrian derby where Doris Guenther edged out Heidi Neururer.

In the men's event, Russia's top athlete Stanislav Detkov, who claimed fourth place in Vancouver, failed to stop Aaron March on the way to the quarterfinals.

The Italian went on thrashing the favorites to face the latest Olympic silver medalist Benjamin Karl in the final duel.

Two crucial runs saw March finding the fastest line on the Moscow ramp.

So this snowboarding showcase in the Russian capital turned out to be packed with surprises. However, Russia has shown it has a long way to go before it reaches the sport’s commanding heights.