German sliding athletes topped the leaderboards in all six events at the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) Beijing 2022 Olympic test event this week.
The event was the first international competition held at the National Sliding Centre in Beijing, which will also stage the skeleton, luge and bobsleigh competitions for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 between 5 - 8 February.
Over 240 athletes from 23 countries took part in the competition, which featured six events: women's monobob, two-man bobsleigh, two-woman bobsleigh, four-man bobsleigh, men's skeleton, women's skeleton.
In the four-man bobsleigh event, the German team of Francesco Friedrich / Candy Bauer / Thorsten Margis / Alexander Schueller took the top spot, while Laura Nolte / Deborah Levi were victorious in the two-woman competition. Friedrich / Alexander Roediger took the laurels in the men’s two-man sleigh.
PyeongChang 2018 gold medallist Mariama Jamanka (GER) topped the women’s field in the monobob with a time of 2:10.11. Switzerland’s Melanie Hasler slid to the silver medal in 2:10.19.
Canada’s Cynthia Appiah – the 31-year-old Toronto native who finished fifth in the monobob race at the 2021 World Championships last season – struck first in the Canadian bobsleigh programme’s mission for medals this year after sliding to the bronze in the women’s race at the test event in Beijing, People's Republic of China on Monday.
“I am really happy with my performance but definitely hungry for more,” said Appiah following her first career podium finish at the elite level of the sport as a pilot. “I’m loving this track because it is very unique. It’s a very hard track to describe because I don’t think there is really anything like it in the world.”
Friedrich, who, alongside Margis, won joint Olympic gold with Canada in the two-man competition in PyeongChang, joined forces with Alexander Roediger to take top spot on the men’s podium Monday with a winning time of 2:00.80. Great Britain’s Brad Hall and Greg Cackett were second at 2:00.87. Russia sliders Rostislav Gaitiukevich and Mikhail Mordasov took advantage of two fast starts to snag the bronze medal with a time of 2:00.89.
In the skeleton competition, the races were dominated by German athletes once again.
Tina Hermann (GER) won the women’s event with a time of 2:06.15, closely followed by her compatriot Neise Hannah (2:06.19) and Nikitina Elena (RUS) (2:06.42).
The test event was meant to offer an opportunity for athletes and organisers both to perfect their craft on what will be the official Olympic venue for the sliding sports at Beijing 2022.
“Until now, the venue has been operating 20 hours a day to get a thorough test of the functionality in all aspects, bearing Beijing Winter Games in mind,” said LIN Jinwen, venue director of the National Sliding Centre. “During the Bobsleigh and Skeleton training weeks from 5 to 21 October, more than 10000 runs have been done by all the athletes on the Olympic track. The venue team has accumulated a lot of experience in high-intensity support.”