BMW IBSF World Championship: Oskars Melbardis wins first four-man gold for Latvia
Innsbruck (RWH) Oskars Melbardis of Latvia has won gold in the four-man bobsleigh and celebrates Latvia’s first ever World Championship title in this discipline. The 2014 Olympic silver medallist shot from ninth after the first run in the BMW IBSF World Championships 2016 in Innsbruck (AUT) to take the title. Last year’s silver medallist and his crew of Daumants Dreiskens, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga had a 0.04 second lead on Germany’s Francesco Friedrich with Candy Bauer, Gregor Bermbach and Thorsten Margis. Friedrich, who collected World Championship gold last week in the two-man bobsleigh, was in the lead before the fourth and last run, and narrowly missed the title. Third place and the bronze medal went to Rico Peter, Bror van der Zijde, Thomas Amrhein and Simon Friedli (SUI, 0.22 seconds behind), Switzerland’s first medal in a four-man bobsleigh World Championship since Ivo Rüegg’s victory in St Moritz in 2007.
The local star and European silver medallist Benjamin Maier and his crew of Marco Rangl, Markus Sammer and Danut Moldovan (AUT) finished fifth on home ice, and celebrated like winners.
Britain’s quartet of Lamin Deen, Ben Simons, Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon, who were looking good for the first British World Championship four-man medal in 77 years at half-time, crashed on the lower part of the track in the third run and ended in 22nd, failing to qualify for the fourth heat.
Complete results lists showing all race times and overall times in the BMW IBSF World Championships 2016 in Innsbruck can be found at ibsf.org, via Twitter (@IBSFsliding), on the official IBSF website, and on the IBSF Facebook group.©RWH2015-2016
Oskars Melbardis (LAT, second in 2014 Olympics, third in 2015 World Championships, overall World Cup winner in 2015)
“This is a great day for the sport of bobsleigh in Latvia. So many people contributed to this gold medal, a little bit of it belongs to each of them.”
Francesco Friedrich (GER, fourth in 2015 World Championships, third in 2015 European Championships)
“I’m full of respect for Oskars, he was simply the better driver. We can be happy with silver after this season, especially in the four-man. Our runs today weren’t good enough for the first place.”
Rico Peter (SUI, 2015 European Championships, sixth in 2013 and 2015 World Championships)
“We knew after the first day that it would be a hard race, but that we were still in with a chance. Our sled runs really well, and the lads are great starters.”
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