Scotty sixth in Cardrona

25 August 2013

SNOWBOARD: Australian Winter Olympic medal hopefuls Holly Crawford and Nate Johnstone have missed out on podium finishes at the New Zealand Winter Games, both placing seventh in the snowboard halfpipe.

Teenage snowboarder Scott James landed two solid runs in the final at Cardrona to better his older teammates in sixth in the World Cup event.

James, 19, who was the youngest male winter Olympian in Vancouver at 15 years old, posted the best result of any Australian snowboarder at the Winter Games.

Japan's 14-year-old competitor Ayumu Hirano claimed first in the men's halfpipe on Saturday, while world number one Kelly Clark took home the women's gold for the USA.

Crawford and Jonestone started their finals well but both crashed on the second of their two runs, meaning they had to rely on their first run scores.

Head coach Ben Alexander said despite missing out on podiums, the result was positive for the Aussies.

"The guys performed quite well today," he told AAP on Saturday.

"We had some really good qualifying results and all in all, it was a job well done."

Crawford and Jonestone are two of Australia's medal chances at next year's Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and both are well into their preparation.

Johnstone missed out on competing at the 2010 Vancouver Games after he broke his ankle in the two week lead up to the Games, but he's focused on making up for that in Sochi.

"I've been riding really well and training has been going well, so hopefully I could get a result," he said.

"I'm looking for a podium finish."

Crawford, who competed in both the 2010 and 2006 Winter Olympics, is hoping to better her best result of 8th at a Games.

"I had some niggling injuries and things like that and didn't quite do the run that I would have liked to have done," she said of her 8th placing in Vancouver in 2010.

"But I think we're better prepared this time, so with any luck, it should be a better result."

Despite flying to New Zealand for the competition, USA snowboarding star Shaun White didn't compete in the event after an ankle injury sustained during training sent him home.


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