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OTHERS > Last-placed Turkish skier blames Sochi’s ‘soft snow’

ROSA KHUTOR

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'They spray something on the snow, and it feels different since we are used to skiing on natural snow,' Kelime Çetinkaya said.  AA Photo

'They spray something on the snow, and it feels different since we are used to skiing on natural snow,' Kelime Çetinkaya said. AA Photo

Kelime Çetinkaya, who finished last in the cross-country women’s sprint qualification on Feb. 11 at the Sochi Olympics said the soft snow was to blame for the result.

Another Turkish skier, Sabahattin Oğlago, also performed poorly and finished 75th among 86 competitors in the cross-country men’s free qualification. He also put the disappointing showing down to “soft snow.”

Çetinkaya, who also finished last in the women’s skiatlon on Feb. 8, said she had high hopes for women’s 10km classic to be held on Feb. 12.

“My last race is the one most suitable for me,” Çetinkaya, who is competing in her fourth Winter Olympics, told Anadolu Agency.

“They spray something on the snow, and it feels different since we are used to skiing on natural snow,” She said of yesterday’s result.

“The snow was too soft on the slopes. Some even fell down,” added Çetinkaya, who finished behind those who fell down.

Oğlago said his result was a success “considering the situation of the piste.”

“It is hard to ski on soft snow, I would have got a much better result if the snow were normal,” said the three-time winter Olympian.

Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla snatched her maiden Winter Olympic title in the women’s event after compatriot, defending champion and hot favorite Marit Bjoergen crashed out in the semifinals.

Bjoergen, who won the individual sprint in Vancouver four years ago, was seeking her fifth Olympic title but failed to make the final where Falla was never threatened, reported Reuters.

Teammate Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg produced a late surge to catch Slovenian Vesna Fabjan on the line and take silver by two hundredths of a second, leaving Fabjan with a second successive bronze in the event.

Another Norwegian Astrid Uhrenholdt Jacobsen, whose brother died suddenly last Friday, reached the final as one of two “lucky losers” but could only manage fourth place.

Bjoergen, who won the skiathlon on Feb. 8, had taken third place in the qualification round as several skiers fell on the 1.3km circuit at the Laura Biathlon and Cross-country Complex.

Norway’s Ola Vigen Hattestad seized his chance in the men’s event to take gold after a spectacular crash on a tight descent took out half the six-man field.

Hattestad came in first in 3min 38.39sec with Sweden’s Teodor Petersen in second, 1:22sec behind, after the pair moved easily ahead of their rivals when three skiers crashed going round a steep right-hand bend, Agence-France Presse reported.

Sweden’s Emil Joensson, who avoided the worst of the carnage, came in third for bronze and was so exhausted he had to be helped to his feet by medical staff.

The crash destroyed the hopes of Anders Gloeersen of Norway, Marcus Hellner of Sweden and home favorite Russian Sergey Ustiugov.

February/11/2014

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