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KIA X Games Asia kicks off to a winning start

ESPN

Shanghai, China — The first day of competition at KIA X Games Asia kicked off in Shanghai, China today as an enthusiastic crowd of spectators filled KIC Jiangwan Sports Center to watch the event. The finals of BMX Freestyle Vert and Women's Speed Climbing were held, along with Skateboard Street prelims and a Freestyle Moto X demo.

BMX Freestyle Vert
With a diverse roster of international athletes competing, riders from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Asia all pushed each other on to see who would take the top spot on the podium. At the end of the day it was Australian Tim Wood, last years bronze medalist, who took home the BMX Freestyle Vert gold. Wood not only earned top honors at the event, but he also won additional respect from his fellow competitors after taking a tough fall on his first run and deciding to continue on with his second run.

"It feels great to win gold at the Asian X Games" said Wood. "I pushed it a little bit more than I normally do, but I knew if I stayed on my bike I could win."

The United Kingdom's Simon Tabron won the silver medal, and Australian rider Steve McCann rounded out the podium with the bronze.

Women's Speed Climbing
Eastern European speed climbers dominated the field and easily took home all three spots on the podium. Russian climber Valentina Yurina won her first Asian X Games gold, after edging out Ukrane's Olena Ryepko by slightly less than one second.

"I'm excited to win my first medal here in Shanghai," said Yurina. "I was really impressed with the Chinese climbers. They seemed to have had some challenges today, but have improved a lot."

Anna Stenkovaya, Yurina's fellow Russian teammate, won the bronze.

Skateboard Street

An international field of 24 competitors was cut down to 10 as Carlos de Andrade, Radolfo Ramos, and Austen Seaholm earned the top three spots in the skateboard street prelims on Thursday. The finals will take place tomorrow afternoon when some of the best street skaters in the world hit the course together to see who will win X Games Asia Skate Street gold.

About KIA X Games Asia
The KIA X Games Asia 2009 will showcase more than 200 of Asia's and the world's best action sport athletes from more than 20 countries and five continents as they compete in BMX freestyle, Aggressive In-line Skating, Skateboarding and Sport Climbing. In addition to the competitive events, Shanghai, China will also enjoy Freestyle Moto X demonstrations by some of the world's best riders.

X Games Asia was first held in 1998 and is the most prestigious multi-event competition for action sports in Asia. Between 1998 and 2001 the event took place in Phuket, Thailand. From 2002-2004, the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur was home to the Asian X Games. In 2005, the event was hosted in Seoul, Korea before returning to Kuala Lumpur in 2006. In 2007, X Games Asia moved to Shanghai, China. This year marks the third year the KIA X Games Asia has been held in the People's Republic of China.

Considered the pinnacle of global action sports competition, the KIA X Games Asia 2009 will be televised live from April 30 - May 3, 2009 on ESPN Asia Networks from the KIC Jiangwan Sports Center, Yang Pu District. Visit the official websites www.kiaxgamesasia.com and www.espnstar.com for more information.

KIA X Games 2009 is sanctioned by the Chinese Extreme Sports Association and is organized by ESPN STAR Sports, the Shanghai Media Group and the Shanghai Sports Federation. The Shanghai Yang Pu District Government is the event's Special Organizer and the Shanghai Sports Competition Management Centre is the co-organizer while the Shanghai Extreme Sports Association is the supporting organizer. The KIC Jiangwan Sports Center is the official venue.

For media to download photos from the event, log on to www.espneventmedia.com

For the general public to get information on the event, log on to www.kiaxgamesasia.com

About ESPN's X Games Franchise
ESPN held its first X Games in 1995. ESPN's Global X Events and Development group is responsible for creating the company's action sports programming currently airing on ESPN, ESPN2 and across its various international networks. In addition to the two U.S.-based X-branded events – X Games and Winter X Games, ESPN has held X Games competitions and demonstration events around the world, including Dubai, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Korea, Malaysia, China and Spain. The Global X franchise has also expanded its reach to ESPN.com/action, the definitive site for action sports fans, and to consumer products such as X Games bikes, protective gear, skateboards and DVDs.