On 6 March, Sopka Cluster hosted snowboarders competing for two sets of medals in Parallel Slalom. Victories were won by the Russians: Milena Bykova in women’s series and Dmitry Karlagachev in men’s series.
The fastest qualification times in women’s Parallel Slalom were those of Natalia Soboleva (Russia) and Sangho Lee (South Korea). The leaders became clear, yet the hardest thing was still to be done.
Natalia Soboleva, Elizaveta Salikhova, and Milena Bykova from Russia made it to the semi-finals. Another athlete from South Korea, Jeong Haerim who won gold in parallel giant slalom at the Winter Universiade 2019 the day before, also got to the semi-finals.
It was Soboleva who stopped the Korean athlete on her way to the second gold medal. Milena Bykova succeeded in another semi-final in a fight between the two Russians, while Elizaveta Salikhova made it to the minor final.
It was Jeong Haerim who won the fight for bronze and at the end of the day added one more medal to her gold at the Winter Universiade 2019.
In the major final, Milena Bykova finished a bit faster (0.03 sec) than Natalia Soboleva in the first run. In the second run, Milena added to her lead and finished first. Natalia Soboleva grabbed the second place.
“It’s only the best and positive emotions,” Milena Bykova shared her joy after crossing the finish line. “Yesterday, I was eager to win but I wasn’t successful in everything. But today I’ve done my best and made the most of my skills. I’m thankful to supporters. I heard everybody shouting “Russia!” right from the starting line. This is the first time I've had so many people cheering for me!"
The situation in men’s series was similar: Sangho Lee (South Korea), Dmitry Loginov (Russia), Dmitry Sarsembayev (Russia) and Dmitry Karlagachev (Russia) passed into the semi-finals. In the battle with Sangho Lee, Dmitry Karlagachev lost in the first heat, but in the second he took advantage of his opponent's mistake and won a trip to the big final. In the second semi-finals, in the peer battle between Dmitry Loginov and Dmitry Sarsembayev, after two heats the latter was 0.3 seconds faster.
In men's small final, Sangho Lee was faster than Dmitry Loginov and finally went up on the bronze step of the podium.
In the battle for gold, Dmitry Sarsembayev made a mistake in the first heat and lost speed in one of the turns, allowing Dmitry Karlagachev to break free. In the second, Sarsembayev almost played back the gap, but again made a mistake and eventually conceded victory to his compatriot.
Even with a medal around his neck, Dmitry Karlagachev admitted that he hadn't realized what had happened: "Still I can't believe I have won! The track is perfect, no knolls, it’s calm and rhythmic – just my style! Thanks a lot to the supporters who stood in the stands and sat in front of the TV screens – it charges and motivates me! I really liked it here: the village, the organization, the supporters – I'm impressed! But I have to leave – new rounds of the World Cup are coming soon."
Snowboard. Parallel Slalom. Women
1. Milena Bykova (Volga Region State Academy of Physical Culture, Sport and Tourism)
2. Natalya Soboleva (Siberian State University of Physical Education and Sport)
3. Jeong Haerim (Korea National Sport University)
Snowboard. Parallel Slalom. Men
1. Dmitry Karlagachev (Siberian State University of Physical Education and Sport)
2. Dmitry Sarsembayev (Siberian State University of Physical Education and Sport)