GB coach backs slopestyle course
Published 03/02/2014 | 09:27
GB Snowboard head coach Hamish McKnight has played down concerns over the safety of the Sochi 2014 slopestyle course at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Norwegian snowboarder Torstein Horgmo, who was among the favourites to medal in the discipline, had to be taken to hospital in a neck brace after falling while practising on a rail portion of the course.
American-born Seamus O'Connor, who will be competing for Ireland in both the slopestyle and halfpipe events, also raised some concerns, claiming the course was "pretty dangerous" after his first training runs.
While GB snowboarding believes there may be some alterations to the course after some feedback from the competitors, it is not unduly concerned.
McKnight told Press Association Sport: "The course is the biggest of the year but, from our point of view, it's doable, it's rideable.
"The feedback from the riders went back to the coursemakers about the rails and the jumps, and I think they're going to look at making some changes.
"But from our side, it's definitely workable."
The snowboard slopestyle event represents a strong chance for Britain to earn a medal, with Southampton rider Billy Morgan a particular standout.
Sixteen year-old O'Connor had earlier called for improvements before the competition gets under way this week.
He said: "The course needs some work."
"They overbuilt the jumps because they were anticipating that the snow would melt. At the moment the riders are not happy. The rails up top are too close.
"It's pretty dangerous at the moment. I think it's definitely going to be a problem for the women. It's pretty gnarly for them.
"We may see some injuries. I hope not, but the whole course is variable as it is.
"The riders need to speak up about the conditions. The rails can't be fixed but they can fix the jumps."
Horgmo was later ruled out of the Games after it was revealed he had sustained a broken collarbone as a result of his fall.