A Belgian enjoys an unprecedented achievement in alpine skiing
Aged 22, Armand Marchant finished 5th in the Zagreb slalom in Croatia. Never has a Belgian skier done better in a World Cup event.
Finishing just 20 hundredths of a second off the podium, the Liege-based skier's performance is, to say the least, unprecedented in a sport which is little practised in Belgium. In fact, you have to go as far back as 1981 to find a comparable achievement. In Sankt Anton in Austria, Henri Mollin also finished 5th in the combined.
After an absence of two years following a serious knee injury on the slopes of Adelboden in Switzerland which required no fewer than seven operations, his return to competition is quite simply sensational.
"I finally had the round that I had wanted to perform for several weeks!" he rejoiced. "The route suited me quite well and I knew that it was time to show everyone what I was made of! When I crossed the line and saw that I had "lit the green light" (the colour for the best time), I was wild with joy. It was the first time this had happened to me. In the end, four skiers went ahead of me overall, but you can't have everything the first time."
After his 28th place in Levi, in Finland, then 18th place at Val d'Isère in late 2019, the skier from Thimister continues his advance in 2020. And at just 22, Armand Marchant is only at the beginning of an obviously promising career.