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Han Tops Freestyle Aerials Qualification
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Chinese skier Han Xiaopeng topped the men's freestyle aerials qualification with an aggregated point of 250.45 after two jumps at the Turin Winter Olympic Games on Monday.

The second place went to Dmitri Dashinski of Belarus with 249. 34 points. Canada's Warren Shouldice finished third with 243.45 points.

"I think I feel more relieved because we have already made a historical breakthrough for the Chinese men's aerials. As you know, we had never got into the finals at previous Olympics," Han said.

"I felt a lot of pressure, especially for the second jump. I know if I perform my best, I'm pretty sure I will get into the final. But to be ranked at number one in the qualification, it is a big surprise for me because all I want to do is to get into the final," added Han, who was placed seventh in the 2005/06 World Cup standings.

On whether he will perform the same jumps in the final, the 22- year-old Han said: "I am thinking of more difficult jumps, but according to the score today, the difficult jumps didn't really get good results, so I will think about this."

Another Chinese Qiu Sen, who placed sixth in the qualification, had no pressure for his first jump.

"All I think about is to get into the final. However, for the second jump I felt a little bit of pressure. (I thought) if I can land stably, I'm sure I will get into the final. The second jump was not difficult because all I need is to have enough points to get into the final. But for sure in the final I will perform more difficult tricks."

Dashinski, 28, tipped his second jump slow. "I was slow because everybody was going too high. It was not perfect, but a safe jump to go to the final."

Some upsets were produced as defending champion Alex Valenta of the Czech Republic came out with poor landings on both jumps and placed 21st, and reigning world champion Steve Omischl of Canada slapped back on the landing of his second jump, finishing one place ahead of Valenta.

Only the top 12 places in the qualification go to the finals.

(Xinhua News Agency February 21, 2006)

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