Mud fights, checkmate and more on Super Saturday

Day four of the Sport Austria Finals run by Austrian Lotteries (May 29 to June 2, 2024) in Innsbruck and Tyrol. On Saturday, national titles were awarded in 26 sports, and around 3,000 athletes were in action from Wörgl to Telfs.

The cross triathlon around the Roseau Quarry Lake turned into a mud fight in which the favorites prevailed. There was a record title and a fairy tale again on the trampoline, and two new champions in chess. Skateboarders impressed at their finals premiere.

And Olympic participant Elizabeth Straka also showed her best form at the national level.

Book game

Three archery favorites and a surprise at the Sport Austria final in Innsbruck. In the mix, Niko Wiener and Ricarda Lukancic lived up to their favorite roles, and Elisabeth Straka also achieved this for the women in Olympic Recurve. There was a stir in men’s Olympic discipline.

Wiener was again awarded the Austrian National Championship title. Burgenlander had no idea how many he had already won. “There are about 30. My mother kept a list until a few years ago, and now we don’t know exactly.”

The one in Innsbruck will be remembered for a long time: “Stepping on the ‘holy turf’ is very special. When you know that the games were played here at Euro 2008, it’s really cool.” In the women’s competition, Ricarda Lukancic defeated Andrea Ratcher by a score of 144:137.

All of Austria is currently talking about Elisabeth Straka in the Olympic recurve competition. The 24-year-old from Lower Austria recently qualified for the Olympic Games in Paris and was already atop the qualifiers, advancing to the final with 6-0 victories over Anna Kiensler and Lisa Rohreger.

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There she defeated Eliza Meyer 6:2. “I’m very happy about the title, but especially about the performance. I was able to consistently shoot well in all rounds,” Straka said. “It was definitely the biggest national tournament till date, shooting at the stadium and even at ORF. It was definitely a good preparation for the upcoming internationals.”

Because Straga goes to the Olympic Games in Paris in the summer. “The moment I got my Olympic ticket in Essen was so real. I saw the referee twice until I believed it. I’m looking forward to the Olympic Games, I’ll prepare as best as I can and enjoy it.”

Among the men, 17-year-old Lower Austrian Jonas Molner caused a stir with his first title.

Trampoline

Tears do not lie! Sarah Hegele and Martin Spade fly to the trampoline title at USI Innsbruck.

The Salzburg native won the synchronized competition with Amelie Vansch and now tops the all-time ÖSTM rankings with eleven gold medals. “I really wanted a tenth title and now I have eleven despite strong competition. I’m over the moon because it worked so well today,” said the athlete from TGU Salzburg.

For the men, Spot wrote a trampoline fairy tale in the absence of Olympic participant Benny Visani. After his last individual victory in 2015, the Upper Austrian already had his career over, having been set back by multiple knee injuries before he could return to the sport. Now he has celebrated a much-lauded comeback.

“It’s really unbelievable, I’m almost lost for words.” Sports director Ingrid Hemminger was impressed by the performance of the athletes: “Even without Benny (Visani; note), we saw many world-class performances; a few years ago such an Austrian position would have been unthinkable.”

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Cross-triathlon

The favorites won the cross triathlon in the Sport Austria final on Saturday. Marcel Spandel defended his title from last year and won one minute ahead of Dominique Vicera. Noah Kunz finished third.

In the women’s race, Karina Wasle won her seventh state championship title by more than six minutes ahead of Katja Gren in her home game at Innsbruck’s Rossau resort. Lena-Maria Eichner finished third.

“National championships at home are special. There was a certain amount of pressure, so I’m very happy now to win with the title,” says Tyrolean, who, like other athletes, has to deal with difficult conditions (lots of mud, low temperatures).

“The conditions were very difficult today. The running was just hell! Finding grip in this mud while climbing was almost an art. And the mud was so muddy that the chain and gear were misplaced when cycling. Thank God, I didn’t have any flaws,” Spandel said.

Skateboard

The Innsbruck Skate Hall was the venue for the skateboard premiere as part of the Sport Austria Finals.

This is the third Rollsport Austria Games to be held as part of the finals, after inline hockey and speed skating. Local hero Santino Exenberger lived up to his role as favorite and won the state championship at the park.

“I had two good runs, especially the second one was very strong. But the best thing was being on the podium with my friends,” said Tyrolean, who pushed Kris Havacs and Fabian Traeger into second and third.

“The verdict is fair, so we can all live with the outcome, and tomorrow will be the next test of strength,” says Exenberger, looking forward to Sunday’s Street decision. Future Hope Julia Blaze will also be starting.

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Chess

Rapid chess is fast, but blitz chess is lightning fast. On Saturday, the results of the Sport Austria finals were decided in a high-speed version, where a game lasts only ten minutes.

Each of the 72 participants must play eleven games and keep an eye on the clock at all times. With no 2023 champions at the start, new state champions were determined.

In the women’s competition, Mandugai Myakmaruren secured the state title with seven wins and one draw. Styrian Barbara Deischler (6.5) won silver and Reka Horvath (6) won bronze.

Felix Blohberger managed to win nine of his eleven duels, now he has won after second place last year. “The goal is a gold medal! After a good start, I had a little difficulty, but after the lunch break I really picked up the pace,” says Viennas, one of the three grandmasters in the competition.

The other two, Dominic Horvath and David Shengalia, finished second and third.

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