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Canada's Sharpe wins gold, d'Artois bronze in World Cup snowboard halfpipe

CARDRONA, New Zealand — Canada's Cassie Sharpe won gold at the first FIS freestyle World Cup event of the season on Friday in the women's snowboard halfpipe.

Sharpe, from Calgary, had 91.00 points, edging out Kelly Sildaru of Estonia who had 90.20. France's Marie Martinod was third with 84.40.

"I am really happy to come away from this first event of the season with a victory," said Sharpe, who won the World Cup in Tignes last March. "The competition was fierce and I knew my second run had to be good. I'm going to keep on training hard this fall so that I can continue to push the limits of the sport."

Simon d'Artois of Whistler, B.C., placed third in the men's event with 88.60 points. American Alex Ferreira took gold with 93.40 points and France's Kevin Rolland was second with 90.20 points.

"I'm very pleased with a podium win in this event. This is an Olympic year and it increases my chances of qualifying for the team," said d'Artois. "Starting the season this way is a real confidence booster. I want to keep on skiing well and I expect to have a good season."

Poor weather forced organizers to hold the qualifying and final rounds on the same day. Of the 35 men in the starting lineup, 10 had an opportunity to make it to the finals, while the women went directly to the final round.

The Canadian Press

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