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Pullin defends snowboard cross world title
Glenn Cullen
15:26 AEST Sun Jan 27 2013

An Olympic gold medal is the next big ticket item on Alex Pullin's agenda after he became the first Australian to successfully defend a winter sports world championship by winning the snowboard cross title in Canada on Sunday (AEDT).

In a sport akin to motocross on snow that can appear to be a crapshoot in determining the winner, Pullin dominated throughout at the Quebec resort of Stoneham.

The 2011 world champion easily won his first heat, then after some battles with Norway's Stian Sivertzen in the next two races, ultimately qualified in the No.1 position for the final.

The decider was almost a no contest on the slick course of jumps and banked turns as Pullin led from start to finish to comfortably finish ahead of Austria's 2009 world champion Markus Schairer and Sivertzen.

"Today is probably a lot sweeter than the last (world championship) because it's so much more a plan and a process," said Pullin, who also won the World Cup title in 2011 but had a leaner 2012 season.

"There was a lot on my mind coming in to do it again - rather than coming in as an underdog and saying 'let's have a crack' and having it work out.

"If I was going to win any event this year, it would be this one."

Pullin will turn his attention to finishing off the World Cup season in style, which also includes a test event on the Olympic course at Sochi next month.

But front and centre are the Games themselves, Pullin keen to add 2014 Olympic gold to his burgeoning list of achievements after qualifying first at the Vancouver Olympics only to crash out in the initial head-to-head race.

"It's a similar event - it's the title you want to put beside your name as a competitor," he said.

"I am certainly working very hard towards it.

"Bringing it together in a one day again here ... it's a good step towards achieving that Olympic goal."

Pullin is among a growing list of Australians who'll be eyeing off a gold medal in Sochi.

Torah Bright (snowboard halfpipe/slopestyle), Lydia Lassila (aerial skiing), Anna Segal and Russ Henshaw (ski slopestyle) are rated among the best in their disciplines while there are a handful of other athletes who are expected to be in contention for minor medals.


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