Coach gutted for Sinclair as she crashes out

Last updated 05:00 14/02/2014
Bex Sinclair
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OVER AND OUT: New Zealand's Bex Sinclair competes in the women's snowboard halfpipe qualifying. Sinclair finished 11th in her heat to miss the semifinals.

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Things "just didn't come together on the day" for Wanaka's Bex Sinclair, but she will bounce back after a disappointing showing in the snowboard halfpipe at the Winter Olympics, her coach says.

The 22-year-old was targeting a top eight finish in Sochi after being 21st in her Olympic debut in Vancouver four years ago.

However, crashes on both her runs late Wednesday night meant she missed out on either qualifying directly through to the final, or getting a second chance in the semifinal.

A best score of 48.25 was only good enough for 11th in her heat.

Snow Sport NZ park and pipe coach Tom Willmott said the result was extremely disappointing.

"Definitely not the result we were hoping for at all, and definitely not the result that Bex is capable of. We are really gutted, she's really disappointed," he said.

"I'm really proud of Bex for a monumental effort that she's put in over the last four years, to come back from numerous challenges and set backs, not least her ACL rupture. To manage to get back into shape and qualify for the Games, and to come in in such good form was a huge accomplishment. It's a been described as running a 100m sprint along a tight rope and unfortunately Bex fell off."

A nervous Sinclair had struggled in training and opted for a back-up run which she had nailed during her preparation and been successful with in past competitions.

Dropping in for the first time, Bex crashed on her "crippler" trick and was unable to complete the run. Her initial score of 32.25 left her in 13th place when all competitors had completed their first runs.

With the pressure on to improve her score to within the top nine, Sinclair re-gathered herself and pushed hard for the big moves.

All went well for the first three hits before she again crashed out, this time on the backside 540.

Sinclair finished her run and lifted her score to 48.25, but by the end of the heat her 11th place was not enough to progress further.

Willmott said the conditions for the halfpipe, which had been heavily criticised in the lead up to the men's and women's snowboard competitions, couldn't be faulted.

Designed and maintained by Wanaka-based company Development Snowparks, the pipe was in tremendous shape given the warm conditions in which spectators were dressed in T-shirts as they took in the action.

The soft snow was something the riders were used to in spring training camps, Willmott said. 

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The event was won by United States boarder Kaitlyn Farrington, with Australian star Torah Bright second and world No 1 Kelly Clark, from the US, third.

- The Southland Times

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