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Slopestyle course improved but jumps a concern

Snowboarder Roope Tonteri of Finland performs a jump during slopestyle snowboard training at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Rosa Khutor,
Snowboarder Roope Tonteri of Finland performs a jump during slopestyle snowboard training at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Rosa Khutor,

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Despite changes made to the Olympic slopestyle course, the jumps are still a cause for concern for some of the women competing in Sochi.

Norwegian slopestyler Torstein Horgmo broke his collarbone on Monday and the course has since been changed after athletes expressed concern.

"The big jumps are very big, especially for the girls," Russia's Sarka Pancochova told reporters after Wednesday's practice runs.

"We are very little, we have 30kg difference to the guys. It's hard to get the speed you need. It's just a game, we have to figure it out."

At Wednesday's practice runs many of the female competitors agreed that the changes had improved the course but that the jumps were still very big.

"The park is the best it's been since we've been here. It's much smoother today," said Britain's Aimee Fuller.

"(But) the small kickers are still very big. It will split the girls, but I will hit the big line and try to be smooth and clean."

Cheryl Maas from Netherlands told reporters: "They are still quite heavy landings, you fall from quite high.

"I can feel it on my back and knees, but I can't complain. The weather is good. The jumps are smooth now."

The women's slopestyle snowboarders begin qualifying on Thursday, with the opening ceremony for the Sochi Games taking place on Friday.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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