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Chinese Women Foursome Enter Freestyle Aerials Final
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Chinese women skiers have all entered the final of the freestyle aerials. However, they are now trailing Australia's Jacqui Cooper.

Former world champion Jacqui Cooper of Australia upset top title favorite Li Nina from China to win the women's aerials qualification at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics Wednesday morning.

Cooper, who claimed the title at the 1999 World Championships but missed the last two Winter Olympics due to injuries, notched a combined score of 213.36 points in two jumps to march into Wednesday's final as top finisher of the 23-member qualification round, which was originally scheduled for Sunday but postponed due to snow.

Li Nina, the 2005-2006 season World Cup leader, ranked third with 188.93 points and that's enough for the 23-year-old Chinese to make the final along with three teammates.

"It's OK to place third in the qualification, because I just want to make the final," said Li, the fifth finisher at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002. "I will demonstrate my best form in tomorrow's final."

Guo Xinxin, the World Cup winner in Deer Valley, United States in the 2005-2006 season, edged out Li for the second place on 204.87 points, while Xu Nannan and Wang Jiao also went through.   Australian Lydia Ierodiaconou, who had been considered a medal contender and placed third with 101.52 points after the first jump, crashed in her second try before being carried off the ice in stretcher.

Settling for the 14th place with 155.45 points, Ierodiaconou narrowly missed a top 12 finish and the chance to advance.

Recovering from a serious injury in her right knee, defending Olympic champion Alisa Camplin, also from Australia, secured a berth in the final after collecting a total of 165.32 points for the 10th place.

(CRI English February 22, 2006)

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