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Ireland's snowboarder Seamus O'Connor through to semi-finals of Slopestyle

The US born teenager came 13th in this morning’s heat.

Ireland's Seamus O'Connor crashes during the men's snowboard slopestyle qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Ireland's Seamus O'Connor crashes during the men's snowboard slopestyle qualifying at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.
Image: Andy Wong/AP/Press Association Images

THE WINTER OLYMPICS began for Ireland this morning as snowboarder Seamus O’Connor went in the second slopestyle qualification heat in Sochi.

And the the US-born 16-year-old ensured he’ll line out in the semi-finals of the event at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park thanks to a 13th place finish. The top four in each heat earned a place in the final while the semis are scheduled for Saturday morning.

O’Connor will also go in the halfpipe event next week.

Britain’s snowboarder Billy Morgan was the first competitor in action in the Games. The first Russian to take part in Sochi was Alexey Sobolev who was the ninth man down the course.

“The conditions are good and I can’t complain. It would be great if the park stays as it is after the Olympics so we can train here,” he said.

Women’s freestyle skiing and team figure skating also start on Thursday and alpine skiiers will be training ahead of the official opening ceremony on Friday. Security at the Games has been a major concern following two deadly December suicide attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd.

Adding to that unease is a stream of threats from Islamist militants in the volatile northern Caucasus region.

- additional reporting AFP

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