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Begg-Smith top qualifier for final

15 February 2006

Two Australians, including gold-medal favourite Dale Begg-Smith are through to the final of the freestyle moguls at Sauze d’Oulx.

Begg-Smith and Nick Fisher went through to the 20-man final after impressive runs in qualifying.

Australia’s two other competitors, Jason Begg-Smith and Michael Robertson missed making the final.

Dale Begg-Smith posted the best score in qualifying; earning 25.40 in a sport that combines speed and technique down the moguls with form from the two jumps on the run.

Begg-Smith earned 14.0 points for his turns, 5.72 for his air and 5.68 for his speed, completing the course in 23.30 seconds.

Begg-Smith has four World Cup wins this season and he showed why in the qualifying. Importantly he appeared to have plenty in reserve for the final.

Fisher put in an outstanding run, scoring 22.89 to comfortably move into the final in 16th position.

Fisher completed the course in 24.93 seconds, earning 5.12 time points. He received 12.7 on his turns and 5.07 on his air.

Robertson narrowly missed the final, placing 24th. He was among the leaders when he completed his run but slowly slipped down as other competitors came through.

The 23-year-old Robertson received a score of 21.52, gaining 11.5 in turns, 4.67 on air and 5.35 for time.

“It was alright,” Robertson said of his run.

“I made a little mistake in the middle. I got caught on a turn and I’ve done that all week in training.”

Jason Begg-Smith, brother of Dale, placed 29th and felt he had performed well.

“It was a pretty good run,” he said.

“I made a small mistake on the bottom trick. My front foot over-rotated and I lost points on that. I was really calm up there and really enjoyed it.”

Jason Begg-Smith scored 20.22, gaining 11.3 on turns, 3.98 on air and 4.94 on time.

There were no major casualties with the strong medal contenders all progressing.

Americans Travis Cabral qualified in 2nd place with 24.88, Jeremy Bloom in 4th with 24.51 and Canadian Marc-Andre Moreau 3rd with 24.69.

Only the score from the final run counts towards the medals with the Begg-Smith to ski last as the top qualifier.

The final starts at 17:30 (Torino time) with the gold medallist to be known by 18:30.

Kevin Diggerson / AOC

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