Freestyle Skiing - Mengtao wins season opener

Xu Mengtao got the defence of her freestyle skiing aerials World Cup title off to the perfect start after comfortably winning the opening event of the season on home soil in Changchun.

Freestyle Skiing - Xu looking for soft landing in Sochi

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China's Xu Mengtao soars through the air

The 22-year-old claimed five victories last year, including four in a row, on the way to the aerials crown and picked up her first with ease after dominating in China.

She produced the best score of every round in Changchun before saving her best until last to record 109.06 in the second final to beat Olympic champion Lydia Lassila of Australia by more than ten points.

The battle for second was far tighter with Xu’s Chinese teammate Li Nina being awarded a score just 0.36 points shy of Lassila while Kong Fanyu was fourth with 89.14

Xu now leads the overall aerials World Cup standings ahead of round two Canada next weekend while Jia Zongyang tops the men’s after taking a far tighter victory on home soil.

The 21-year-old was inconsistent in Changchun ranking second after qualifying and then fourth after the first final however his second final score of 128.51 was just enough to give him the win.

Chinese teammate Qi Guangpu, leading after qualifying, was the only one able to challenge Jia and he nearly beat him but fell short after being awarded a score of 128.05.

Defending aerials World Cup champion Olivier Rochon, who beat Jia to the title last year, was way off in third with 84.75 while another Chinese skier Liu Zhongqing was fourth with 75.56.

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