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Paralympic sports - 14. January 2014.

Joines secures Sochi Paralympics qualifier, 2nd in giant slalom at Panorama IPC World Cup

Sit-skier Kimberly Joines finished second in giant slalom Monday to secure Canada’s first podium at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing World Cup in Panorama, B.C., and book her ticket to the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games.

Joines, of Rossland, B.C., was second after the first run and held onto her position with an aggressive second run in wet and warm conditions to tie for second place with Japan’s Momoka Muraoka, with a two-run combined time of two minutes, 16.30 seconds.

“I was charging all the way down, but the snow was kind of weird today and at one part I started sliding out and slid on my bucket,” said Joines, who has more than 20 IPC World Cup wins. “I really, really wanted to finish today, so I just squeezed my abs as hard as I could and popped back up, and just as I was getting to the outside gate panel laid my edge in and kept it on course while actually keeping my speed. It was a great race.”

Monday’s giant slalom was the first race of the 2013-14 season for the experienced veteran, who injured her shoulders at the IPC World Cup finals in Sochi, Russia, last year, and who has been working her way back to international competition with a focus on technical events. Joines’ podium finish in Panorama means the Paralympic bronze medallist has now met criteria to be nominated to the team for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.

“It feels amazing to be back racing,” Joines said. “I’ve been training lots, but once race season starts there’s only so much training you can do, and I was really antsy to get going. It was nice to get out there, be a part of the start gate excitement and lay down a couple of great runs.

“It’s nice to have met the qualification for Sochi and get it out of the way. I have four more races next week, so it’ll be nice to be able to relax and focus on those without having the worry of qualifying on my mind.”

Following Monday’s results, the entire Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team has met criteria to be nominated to the Canadian Paralympic Team, which will be announced in February.

Joines won bronze in super-G and was seventh in giant slalom at the Turin Paralympics in 2006, but was forced to sit out the 2010 Vancouver Games due to injury. Gunning to better her bronze in Sochi, the 32-year-old dominated in Nor-Am events last month, which was a good indicator of how she would fare back on the World Cup circuit, said head coach Jean-Sébastien Labrie.

“Today was a good start. Kim had some great skiing,” he said. “It was nothing spectacular but she was solid enough to show that with a little more giant slalom training she’s going to be up there and ready for Sochi. That’s what we were expecting because that’s how she skied last month at Nor-Ams. We know her giant slalom is not the strongest at the moment, but we knew that she would be in the mix. She had a few mistakes, but I think it went well for her first race back at the World Cup.”

Germany’s Anna Schaffelhuber won the ladies’ sitting category in 2:07.58.

In the ladies’ standing category, which was won by Germany’s Andrea Rothfuss (2:06.57), Alana Ramsay, from Calgary, Alta., was sixth (2:18.03), Erin Latimer, of Etobicoke, Ont., was seventh (2:23.29), and Calgary’s Alexandra Starker was ninth (2:30.90).
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