Skiing: Women's race put on hold

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THE downhill section of the women's combined was called off at the World Championships in Morioka, Japan, yesterday because of swirling wind and snow. Organisers hope to reschedule the race for today.

'It's disappointing and frustrating at the same time,' said Austria's Anita Wachter, favourite for the combined title. 'But we will just have to keep our mental condition going for another 24 hours.'

The women's downhill is scheduled today on the same Mount Kotakakura piste, but officials said the slalom leg of the combination might take its place if the forecast showed no signs of improvement. Both downhills would then be raced at a later date.

Meanwhile, two jumps on the men's downhill course will be modified after several competitors crashed in training, including the American downhiller, Erik Schlopy, who cracked vertebrae, bruised a lung and fractured his sternum after he careered out of control on the final jump on Tuesday.

A statement issued after a team captains' meeting said there had been complaints about two jumps on the lower stretch as well as the part of the piste just before the finish. 'The coaches wish that the landing point should be better prepared. . .the two jumps will be modified,' the statement said.