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Emma Austin claims second top-...
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Emma Austin claims second top-30 finish for Ireland at Winter Youth Olympics

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

16:16 14 Jan 2020

Emma Austin had an impressive twenty-eighth place finish in the Slalom event on the final day of action for Team Ireland at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

Austin was competing in a field of 78 athletes and came home in a time of 1:42.02 but Irish team-mate Matt Ryan didn't fare so well, recording a DNF.

17-year-old Austin started the day strongly by bettering her seeded starting position of 51 with a 35th place and time of 51.66.

In the Slalom there are two runs, with the overall being based on the combined total of the time it takes to complete both runs. A clean second run secured 28th for the Irish racer, with a time of 1:42.02.

“It was really fun, much better than my first run, I think," said Austin after the event.

"I was a little less off the pace than I was in the first run. I was in the game, it was a good run, it was fun, and it was good to end with a top thirty."

After the first run the course is switched around to optimise the good snow, as the impact of almost 80 racers having already come down results in ruts on the course.

Out of 78 entries in the Slalom, there were only 37 finishers, and Austin’s initial emotion was relief, "It feels really good," added the American-born skier.

"Unfortunately Matt DNF-ed today which was upsetting and disappointing, so I really wanted to put one down for Ireland in it."

In the men’s event, Ryan looked set for a good position, with a good opening section, but went a millimetre out on the first roll and straddled a pole, which caused one of his skis to come off and resulted in a DNF for the Irishman.

Team Ireland's flag-bearer described the chain of events afterward.

"I felt the course was going well up top, there were a couple of tight gates up top, and then on to a hairpin," said Ryan.

"Then I swung decently in the first pitch to the first roll, and the ski just popped off halfway through, so it is what it is."

The Slalom was Ryan’s target event, and his form last Saturday in the Alpine Combined Slalom indicated that he was on course for a top twenty result, with the top ten his personal goal.

The Massachusets-born skier is now looking ahead to the rest of the season.

"I’m pretty disappointed right now, I’ve worked really hard for this event," added Ryan.

"I was hoping for better things, but it moves on. I’m heading back to the US looking for some good results there, so I’ll be back at it and good to go. I’ve got time."

The slopes in Les Diablerets were challenging, with all events in Alpine Skiing featuring a high number of DNFs, and the Irish athletes suffered a share of those non-finisher results.

The highlights for Team Ireland were the two top thirty finishes with Ryan's twenty-fifth place finish in the Alpine Combined added to Austin's Slalom performance today.

RESULTS

WOMEN’S SLALOM

Gold Emma Sahlin (Sweden) 1:29.82

Silver Lena Volken (Switzerland) 1:30.00

Bronze Lara Klein (Germany) 1:30.25

28th Emma Austin (Ireland) 1:42.02

MEN’S SLALOM

Gold Adam Hofstedt (Sweden) 1:16.10

Silver Luc Roduit (Switzerland) 1:17.42

Bronze Edoardo Saracco (Italian) 1:17.78

DNF Matt Ryan (Ireland)

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