It is the second time this year that the Australian Institute of Sport / NSW Institute of Sport skier has finished fifth.
Today’s final was won by series leader, Canada’s Marielle Thompson, ahead of Switzerland’s Emilie Serain and French veteran Ophelie David, who is just 10 points behind Thompson in a fight for this year’s title.
In only her second year as an AIS / NSWIS scholarship holder, the Perisher skier has slowly but steadily climbed higher in the results with four World Cup consolation finals appearances in nine events.
Her push for a spot in the podium decider round has intensified since mid-January and compares favourably with last season when she regularly finished in the 20's.
After qualifying in ninth place, Kennedy-Sim displayed her head-to-head racing prowess by finishing second in a quarter final behind Switzerland’s Katrin Mueller, who won the last World Cup round in Germany a week ago.
Skiing against David, Mueller and Frenchwoman Jessica Millet Gouchoe in a semi-final and for a place in the final, Kennedy-Sim, who is usually clean and fast out of the start gate, caught a pole of another skier, causing her to lose valuable ground.
The starting mishap was described by AIS ski cross program head coach Matt Lyons as “bad luck” and Kennedy-Sim was unable to bridge the gap with the other three skiers.
However, Kennedy-Sim showed her characteristic grit in the consolation final by winning the race in fine style, giving her fifth overall.
The consistency achieved by Kennedy-Sim this World Cup season means that her world ranking is 12, providing automatic inclusion into the season ending World Cup finals in Grindelwald, Switzerland, next Sunday.
Fellow squad member, Katya Crema, with her 15th place today after qualifying in 10th, seems set to be another Australian inclusion in the season’s curtain call event.
Crema fell during her quarter final in Sweden, which ended her hopes of going further in today’s ninth round event.
The men’s draw saw Anton Grimus also continue his improvement with a 19th fastest time in qualifying and 28th overall.
While his placing was down compared with recent rounds, Lyons is pleased with Grimus’ form and believes he is recapturing the speed that he displayed in his debut season last year.
Grimus is on the threshold of also qualifying for the World Cup finals, with the outcome hinging on his performance in the season’s penultimate event, the first day of a double header, in Grindelwald next Saturday.
Australia’s number one male ski cross athlete Scott Kneller may return to competition next Saturday for the first time since suffering a hand injury in January. Kneller and Lyons will decide at the end of the week if he will race.