China’s Gong Naiying grabs gold in FIS Snowboard World Cup in Chongli, north China
Sports Scene

In the ongoing FIS Snowboard World Cup at the Secret Garden in the northern Chinese county of Chongli, home favorite Gong Naiying won gold in the women's parallel slalom to become the host nation's first competitor to top the podium in this event.

Incidentally, the venue in Hebei Province will host freestyle skiing and snowboarding during the much-anticipated 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Gong looked strong as she defeated Sabine Schoeffmann of Austria in the quarter-finals before knocking out Germany's Selina Joerg in the last four and setting up a title clash against Julie Zogg of Switzerland, who eliminated the other Chinese contender, Zang Ruxin, in the round of 16.

Gong Naiying of China competes in the women's parallel slalom event during the FIS Snowboard World Cup series in Chongli, Hebei Province, north China, February 24, 2019. /VCG Photo

Gong Naiying of China competes in the women's parallel slalom event during the FIS Snowboard World Cup series in Chongli, Hebei Province, north China, February 24, 2019. /VCG Photo

But Zogg couldn't quite repeat her performance against Zang's magnificent compatriot in the final. Even though the reigning world champion took an early lead but the 20-year-old Chinese caught up as they continued down the slope. Gong eventually surged to victory by 35-hundredths of a second to become the first Chinese snowboarder to win a parallel slalom title on the World Cup circuit.

The golden girl said after her remarkable win, “I was already exhausted before this competition, so I did not think I would stand highest on the podium, but I feel that I have broken down a wall, and I am very excited.”

Meanwhile, in the men's draw, China's Zhang Xuan could manage to finish at fourth place after being edged out by 7-hundredths of a second by Roland Fischnaller.

The overall season leader's Italian compatriot, Daniele Bagozza, grabbed gold while Russia's Dmitry Loginov clinched silver.