Debut on the podium
Belarusian snowboarder Yelizaveta Plyuta wins bronze in Slopestyle discipline at Europa Cup, hosted by Sarajevo
The medal is the first earned by domestic athletes at such a tournament since snowboarding began to gain momentum in Belarus. Yelizaveta Plyuta, 17, who trains at the Raubichi Republican Centre of Olympic Training for Winter Sports, performed in the Olympic discipline of Slopestyle, and in the non-Olympic discipline of Big Air. She claimed bronze in Slopestyle, earning 169 points during the one-day tournament, performing among six finalists. Gold went to Czech Katerina Vojackova, followed by Eva Kralj of Slovenia.
Belarusian Plyuta also qualified for the finals of the European Cup stage in the Big Air discipline but failed to take a medal, coming only fifth. Czech Katerina Vojackova again came first.
Belarusians have previously qualified for the top ten in snowboarding, across various disciplines, occupying fourth, sixth and ninth places. Second only to the World Cup, in which Belarusians have also performed, the European Cup is a major event, this year hosted by Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The experimental snowboard team was created in 2000. The sport received attention after the establishment of its federation, and the reconstruction of Silichi Republican Ski Centre, which has its own Slopestyle and Big Air tracks. At present, the future of the Belarusian national snowboard team is being discussed, with athletes aiming for a place at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
By Igor Grishin