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Dramatic final snowboard tune******
by Peter Mertz。
COPPER MOUNTAIN, United States, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- The last of two December pre-Olympic qualifying events saw drama and uncertainty unfold as snowboarding Olympians squared off in the final 2021 tune-up before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.。
In the women's snowboarding superpipe finals on Saturday, Spain's Queralt Castellet was in the gold medal spot with China's Cai Xuetong in second place when Chloe Kim, the defending 2018 PyeongChang Olympic gold medalist, looked down the superpipe for her last of three runs.。
"Last run for Chloe Kim," NBC announcer Todd Richards boomed to the crowd of hundreds lining the walls of the 600-foot-long halfpipe, and more than 1,000 fans clustered at the bottom, at the Copper Mountain ski resort, located 77 miles west of Denver in the Rocky Mountains.。
"Huge pressure on this young lady," added one fan standing atop the superpipe wall, in attendance with his 10-year-old daughter.。
But Kim, who took a year off snowboarding after the PyeongChang games to concentrate on her studies at Princeton University, saved her best for last and "seemed unfazed by the pressure as she strung together a 1080, cab 900 and a perfectly executed cab 1080 to score a 96 and capture the title," the Steamboat Pilot reported.。
At the bottom, as the crowd roared in appreciation, Kim fell to her knees and was immediately mobbed by Cai, Castellet and the other women snowboard competitors, who piled on top of her with whoops and cheers of appreciation.。
"This is what makes snowboarding so special," onlooker Dave Pyle told Xinhua. "These women are fierce competitors, but above all that, they support each other regardless of the outcome. They are all class acts."
"I am never putting myself in that situation again," Kim told the audience after her dramatic come-from-behind victory. "That was horrible. I was so happy that I was able to land, seriously."
Castellet finished second, and Cai took third. Next month's Olympic qualifier at California's Mammoth Springs will decide the final spots on the U.S. ski and snowboard Olympic teams.。
On the men's side, the snowboarding superpipe drama was replaced by the uncertainty that looms over the head of snowboarding legend Shaun White, a four-time Olympian who stumbled on his first two runs and only finished seventh overall with a top score of 82.。
"Shaun White struggles again in Olympic snowboard qualifier," the San Diego Union-Tribune headline said Sunday, as "the three-time gold medalist continued to underwhelm in the 2021-22 season and is down to one remaining qualifier," the Union-Tribune said.。
"It looks like the 35-year-old icon from Carlsbad will need a discretionary pick from U.S. Ski & Snowboard to get to Beijing," the report added, noting that White was eighth two weeks ago "on this same halfpipe" at the U.S. Grand Prix.。
Japan's Yuto Totsuka won Sunday with a score of 95.5 points on his final run, followed by American Taylor Gold (92.0), Japan's Ruka Hirano (89.0), Switzerland's Jan Scherrer (88.0).。
On Sunday, Japan's Ayumu Hirano became the first person in snowboard history to land the elusive triple cork (three diagonal revolutions above the 22-foot pipe) in competition.。
"Halfpipe snowboarding has just changed," NBC's Richards announced. "This is where we're going, ladies and gentlemen. Good luck, everybody."
Aside from White, the American best positioned to prevent a Japan sweep is Gold, who finished second on the day off the strength of his very first run, Forbes said Sunday.。
"It was a highly technical run that saw Gold go McTwist, frontside 1260 with a tailgrab, his signature double Michalchuk 1080 and then a switch McTwist as a setup trick for the switch 1080," Forbes noted of team USA's best Olympic hope after White.。
In the men's snowboard superpipe final, four Americans made up the 10-man field, including White, Gold, Chase Josey and Joey Okesson.。
After his final run, White threw his goggles and gloves to the fans. "I'm so happy to put one in. Thank you everyone for being here," White told the crowd. "This is my last Dew Tour so thank you, Dew Tour. Thank you everybody here. I appreciate you!" Enditem。
Colombia striker Falcao to miss key FIFA World Cup qualifying games******
MADRID, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Veteran striker Radamel Falcao will miss Colombia's forthcoming World Cup qualifying matches against Brazil and Paraguay after suffering a muscle injury at the weekend.。
He will be out of action for around a month.。
Falcao suffered a tear in his right abductor muscle shortly after scoring Rayo Vallecano's goal in the 74th minute of their 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.。
Tests carried out on Monday by the club confirmed the extent of the injury and he will not be able to take part in the key games against Brazil on November 11 and Paraguay four days later.。
Falcao joined Rayo Vallecano at the end of the transfer window and has scored five goals in 334 minutes of La Liga football.。
As well as the two international games, Falcao will also miss league matches against Mallorca and Valencia. Enditem。
US misappropriation of Afghan assets inhumane: Chinese envoy******
The US misappropriation of frozen Afghan assets, while the Asian country is facing an avalanche of hunger and poverty, is inhumane, said a Chinese envoy on Wednesday.
Against the backdrop of such a grim humanitarian and economic situation, the US government decided last month to divert 7 billion US dollars in frozen Afghan assets for other purposes, which triggered widespread protests across Afghanistan, said Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations.
Noting that those assets belong to the Afghan people and the sovereign state of Afghanistan, Zhang stressed that the practice of arbitrarily handling other countries' overseas assets under US domestic law has no precedent. It is not only an infringement on Afghanistan's sovereignty and property, but also a serious contravention of international law, he said.
The envoy pointed out that those funds are the only few available assets owned by Afghanistan, playing a crucial part in the stability and development of the country. For the Afghan people, those assets are their life-saving money and their hope for survival. When Afghans need them the most, the ruthless deeds of freezing and misappropriation have inflicted "secondary damage" on them and that are completely against the due spirit of morality and justice.
What the United States has done is illegal, unreasonable and inhumane, he said, noting that China once again calls on related countries to immediately and unconditionally return those assets in full to the Afghan people, instead of making things worse. Moreover, the United States should stop applying double standards on humanitarian issues, Zhang added.
Afghanistan has going through a lot of trials and tribulations, and is now standing at a crucial stage of reconstruction. The country is working hard to improve its political structure, restore order in production and livelihood, and actively carry out foreign exchanges and cooperation. There is a good trend that more and more countries are engaging with the Afghan interim government in various forms, he said.
The international community should continue to adhere to the "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned" principle, step up engagement with the Taliban in an equitable, rational and pragmatic approach, and patiently guide the Taliban to respond to the expectations of the international community. Only in this way can Afghanistan gradually achieve lasting peace and stability and eliminate the breeding ground of terrorism. Afghan women and children can thus achieve better development, Zhang said.
As a friendly neighbor, China has always been committed to supporting the peaceful and stable development of Afghanistan. China will work closely with countries in the region, actively participate in various Afghan-related multilateral mechanisms, and promote coordinated actions by all parties to create synergy and help Afghanistan walk on a path of sound development, he said.