On the second day of competition at the Lithuanian Alpine Skiing Championships in Italy, participants had to contend not only with their competitors, but also with the dangers of the course
The same leaders
The giant slalom competition of the Lithuanian Alpine Skiing Championships were held at the Italian resort of Kronplatz on Thursday where 17-year-old Aivaras Tumas confessed that to win the overall gold medal took not only his skill on the course, but also a lot of luck.
After the first run, Tumas was behind Karolis Janulionis, the 21-year-old winner of the slalom the day before, by .35 seconds. But in the second run, Janulionis skied out of the course—although he did finish—and lost the win.
“I had hoped to be first. Of course, my success was due to Karolis’s crash and I skied both runs calmly,” said Tumas. It is his first Lithuanian overall championship title.
Janulionis, despite the fall, took second place in the men’s group. Among the women, the winner was again 17-year-old Ieva Januškevičiūtė.
Like yesterday’s slalom race, some participants did not finish, and some, including Janulionis, were able to finish despite loosing several seconds to a mistake. The racers were usually tripped up by several days of snowfall that created huge ruts in the course. But, while the Kronplatz slopes were draped in clouds during the race until shortly after the second run, the award ceremony took place in bright sunshine.
During the awards, not only were the men’s and women’s champions honored, but also eight-year-old Oskaras Karlavičias, the youngest participant in the race. For the amateur race on Friday, sunny weather was predicted.
More difficult challenges await
None of the three over all national championship winners will participate in the official closing ceremonies on Friday. Januškevičiūtė will return to the International Ski Federation (FIS) camp taking place in the Alps, while Tumas and Janulionis will leave for the Czech Republic to participate in FIS races over the weekend. Many younger participants from the Lithuanian championships in Kronplatz will travel to Slovakia for FIS Children’s competetions.
The most serious challenge of the season still awaits Januškevičiūtė, Tumas, and Janulionis. In mid-February, they will defend Lithuania’s honor at the World Alpine Ski Championships held in Austria. After the World Championships, Tumas will participate in the European Youth Olympic Festival in Romania.
“Even before the World Championships I will take part in several races and as many camps as possible,” said Janulionis. According to the athlete, the main Lithuanian goal is to ski well in the selection race in order to gain entry into the main event. (In the FIS World Alpine Ski Championships slalom and giant slalom competitions, the best 50 skiers in the world automatically are entered into the final, all others must participate in a qualification race, from which the top 25 will advance to the final.)
Combing sport and education
This year’s Lithuanian alpine skiing champions are college and high school students from Vilnius. Januškevičūtė studies at Mykolo Biržiškos high school, Tumas is at Žirmūnų high school, and Janulionis is a sophomore at Vilnius University. “So far, I’m managing to keep up—I don’t have any debts,” said Janulionis who participates in sports year-round. He is not only the skiing champion, but the Lithuanian champion in sailing.
“The FIS camp will go on until Jan. 26. After that—home. If I’m able to manage it with school, before t he World Championships I’ll participate in a few FIS races. I don’t have any big problems with school—I work hard and my teachers help me. I try to study as much as possible at the camp. What I don’t understand, I ask my teachers when I get home,” said Januškevičiūtė.
“The hardest thing is to organize everything. I carry my books with me, and try to study,” said Tumas smiling.” The giant slalom champion also participates in climbing, sailing, windsurfing, kite surfing, and rollerblading. “I’m extreme,” he said.
Tumas has also distinguished himself in an unusual competition—a few years back he took second place in a competition for who could send a text message the fastest. “I went because I wanted to test myself, and I took second place. I won two phones. The first place winner won 10,000 litas ($3856),” said Tumas.
Lithuanian Alpine Skiing Championships giant slalom results (Start – 1945m., finish – 1745m., 27 gates)
L2 (1998 and younger): 1. Augustaitytė – 1:34.87; 2. A. Banelytė 2:12.23
L3 (1997 – 1979): 1. Januškevičiūtė – 1:32.55; 2. P. Tolpežninkaitė – 1:47.92
L4 (1978 and older): 1. Linkevičienė – 1:56.38; 2. V. Tylienė – 2:21.49; 3. R. Bilkštytė – 2:21.90
M2 (1998 and younger): 1. R. Janulionis – 1:36.32; 2. K. Sokas – 1:50.01; 3. T. Matusevičius – 1:58.24
M3 (1997 – 1979): 1. A. Tumas – 1 min. 28,25 sek., 2. K. Janulionis – 1 min. 33,84 sek., 3. V. Aleksandravičius – 1 min. 34,11 sek.
M4 (1978 – 1959): 1. A. Grigaras – 1 min:36.88; 2. A. Janulionis – 1:40.35; 3. G. Zaveckas – 1:41.31
M5 (1958 and older): 1. T. Milašius – 1:41.20; 2. I. Lažinskas – 2:7.31; 3. S. Grigas – 2:52.14