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Page last updated at 22:25 GMT, Friday, 26 February 2010

Sauerbreij secures snowboarding gold for Netherlands

Nicolien Sauerbreij

Sauerbreij claims PGS gold for Nederlands

World Cup leader Nicolien Sauerbreij won the Netherland's first snowboarding gold medal with a convincing victory in the women's parallel giant slalom.

Sauerbreij beat Ekaterina Ilyukhina into second after the Russian came out too hard in her second run and lost time running wide on the top two gates.

And Austria's Marion Kreiner took the bronze medal, easing beyond Germany's Selina Joerg with a classy final run.

German favourite Amelie Kober crashed out dramatically in the quarter-final.

Horrendous weather conditions at Cypress mountain made the going tough with many of the riders slipping on the wet snow and struggling with poor visibility as a result of heavy rain.

The conditions also took their toll on the spectators, with only a few hundred flag-waving fans left by the final runs.

"I cannot believe it. I knew I was good but to win here under these conditions - it's unbelievable," said Sauerbreij.

"I had to tell myself 'concentrate, concentrate'. I couldn't believe I was going for gold or silver."

At the quarter-final stage the competition was dominated by two countries with three Austrians and three Germans joined by Sauerbreij and Ilyukhina.

But by the semi-final there was a more even spread, with Kreiner up against Ilyukhina and Sauerbreij facing Joerg.

Ilyukhina was somewhat fortunate to make the final after crashing in her first semi-final run.

However the Russian, starting her second run 1.5 seconds behind, capitalised on a slip by Kreiner, who had qualified fastest earlier in the day, to secure a run at the gold medal.

Meanwhile, Joerg finished slightly ahead of Sauerbreij, the only Dutch woman in competition, in the first run, but the 30-year-old managed to put together a clean run to reach the final as Joerg pushed too hard and slipped off with the end in sight.

In the final it was the experienced Sauerbreij who dealt with the deteriorating conditions best to secure the first Dutch Winter Olympic gold outside of speedskating and figure skating.

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see also
Winter Olympics Day 15 as it happened
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Winter Olympics day 15 photos
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010
Snowboard: Parallel giant slalom
09 Nov 09 |  Snowboarding
Winter Olympics weather
26 Feb 10 |  Vancouver 2010

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