Cabral not intimidated at World Championships |

Cabral not intimidated at World Championships

Travis Cabral is making his FIS Freestyle World Championships debut today but that inexperience won’t deny the South Shore bumper from being cast as one of the prerace favorites.

Two World Cup titles and fourth place in the moguls standings give the 19-year-old the ammunition to compete for the title when qualifying begins today at Deer Valley Resort.

“I’m just trying to have fun. If I’m nervous, I know something is wrong,” Cabral said.

Youth has served the U.S. team well in post-Olympic competitions and team officials don’t see their callowness as a detriment in the biggest event of the 2002-03 season.

“Most of the athletes on the World’s team have found success this season on the World Cup and that can’t be a bad thing as we return to our backyard,” said U.S. Freestyle Program Director Polly Jo Clark. “Overall, it also is a young team as this will be, for some, their first World Championships and that creates a lot of good excitement throughout. They all can do it on any given day, as we’ve witnessed.”

Tahoe City’s Shannon Bahrke, the women’s World Cup leader; Laurel Shanley of Squaw Valley; and Shelly Robertson of Reno will also compete.

Cabral served as a forerunner during the 2002 Winter Games last February at the same course.

The course’s length — 35 to 75 meters longer than a typical World Cup venue — and bullet-proof surface conditions present a demanding challenge to the field, which also includes defending World Cup champion Jeremy Bloom and 2002 Winter Games silver medalist Travis Mayer.

“It’s our toughest course of the year … one of those courses you have to be on it all the way,” Cabral said.

Rain and overnight freezes this week have contributed to making the course even tougher. In addition, the Deer Valley course has twice as many bumps as the competitors are accustomed to.

“It’s brutal on body, I don’t care how young you are, and there a lot of good skiers,” Cabral said.

Moguls qualifying is today and aerials qualifying Thursday. Moguls finals are Friday and the championships will wind up Saturday with dual moguls and aerials finals.

Taped coverage of the championships will be shown by NBC on Saturday and Sunday.

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