Three days, three medals for NZ: Adam Hall takes Super Combined BRONZE
Highlights from Beijing today – Day 3:
- In the Men’s Super-Combined we saw two New Zealand Paralympians compete, showcasing strong runs from both athletes in difficult conditions.
- Paralympian #158 Adam Hall took BRONZE in the Men’s Super Combined – Standing category.
- Paralympian #228 Aaron Ewen left it all out on the highly technical slalom course today, unfortunately resulting in a Did Not Finish.
Coming up tomorrow – Day 4:
- There are no New Zealand Paralympians competing in the events held tomorrow.
- Tomorrow you can watch international Para athletes compete in Para biathlon, Wheelchair curling and see Canada take on Korea, and Italy take on China to see who qualifies for the finals of the Para ice hockey.
Next Para alpine ski day – Thursday 10th March, Day 6:
- Sit skiers Corey Peters and Aaron Ewen will compete in the Giant Slalom event.
- Giant Slalom consists of two runs, on the same day, that are of different courses. Times from both runs are added together to determine the order. This event is a technical one, that is a longer course yet fewer gates than Slalom.
- In the past two Paralympic Winter Games, Corey Peters has won silver and then 10th in this discipline, making him one to keep an eye on.
Adam Hall: Para alpine skiing – Super Combined – Standing category
Adam Hall won BRONZE in the Men’s Super Combined – Standing category in a time of 1:54.77, just a quarter of a second slower than Finland’s Santeri Kiiveri in second place.
Super Combined consists of two runs, mixing a fast Super-G with a technical Slalom. The fastest combined time wins the race. Competitors race the second run in reverse order (called ‘the flip’) with slowest first and fastest last.
Hall completed the Super-G course in 1.15.33. With the snow heating up fast in the last hour combined with two flat sections, the course wasn’t optimal for Hall, but he was happy with the run, considering the conditions. Hall’s time was 4.45 seconds slower than the leading Paralympian Arthur Bauchet of France, giving him a 15th place finish.
“If I was within 5 seconds or so on the Super-G, I knew I had a shot.”
It was in the second half of the Super Combined, the Slalom, that we saw the dramatic turnaround of Hall’s fortunes. With what commentators described as “millimetre perfect, massive precision” Hall skied from 15th place into the lead in a time of 39.44 seconds. Many skilled skiers were to follow, however, and Hall describes an anxious wait while the majority completed the course.
“It’s the worst position to put yourself in. You’re waiting down here for so long.”
No one could beat him in the Slalom until the very end, when France’s Arthur Bauchet was just 0.06 of a second faster. Bauchet took gold, while Finland’s Santeri Kiveri took silver with a combined time just a quarter of a second faster than Hall’s.
Hall says the course today needs a dancer’s rhythm:
“With the vertical drop that this course has, and the steepness of it, which is suited to me, you definitely had to have your disco shoes on, for sure!”
Viewer now have a wait until Saturday to see Hall’s disco shoes come out once more for the Slalom event, his final event of Beijing 2022.
Diagnosed at birth with spina bifida – a disability that typically leaves people in a wheelchair – Hall says he’s “lucky” because he is mobile and able to walk. In 2011, he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for services to sport.
Hall was bestowed with an incredible honour when he was announced as winner of the Whang Yuon Dai Achievement Award at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. This is presented to only one male and one female Paralympian at each Paralympic Games who best exemplify the spirit of the Paralympic Games and the Paralympic values.
Aaron Ewen: Para alpine skiing – Super Combined – Sitting category
Aaron Ewen faces disappointment today on his third day of competition in the Super Combined event.
New Zealand’s newest Paralympian gave a strong showing in the first half, sitting in 10th place after the Super-G run.
The commentators describe Ewen’s run as “set up well coming into the bowl, letting him run straight.” Considering the strong tail wind blowing through the canyon, Ewen’s performance was excellent.
While Slalom is not Ewen’s preferred discipline, he began the second half of the Combined event well, keeping the rhythm steady. But then the tip of Ewen’s ski caught the inside of the red pole, putting him out of the race.
The past three days of back-to-back competition have been a considerable learning experience for Aaron and he will build on this in the two races to come.
We will next see Ewen compete alongside fellow sit skier Corey Peters in the Giant Slalom, which is scheduled for this Thursday 10th March.
In February 2013, Ewen competed in a downhill mountain biking competition when he crashed, sustaining a spinal cord injury that left him without movement in his legs. His new passion was born after his friends took him up to Mt Ruapehu for a ski lesson. Ewen appreciates the independence skilling allows him, saying, “I was thrilled to find skiing gives me the same kind of feeling as riding my bike over rough stuff.”
With Ewen’s love of speed, he will continue his ‘go hard or go home’ mentality in the upcoming events.