Photos: IBSF / Viesturs Lacis

Defending title holder Tina Hermann in second ahead of European Champion Elena Nikitina

Altenberg (RWH) The European Championship runner-up Marina Gilardoni of Switzerland is in a surprising first place half-way through the women’s skeleton race at the 2020 BMW IBSF World Championships. Recording the best time in both heats on the first day of World Championship action in Altenberg (GER), the 32-year-old has a clear lead at the top of the field.

Ahead of runs three and four, the Swiss athlete has a 0.63-second lead over defending World Champion Tina Hermann from the hosts Germany. Hermann climbed from fifth place to second during heat two.

Elena Nikitina (RUS, 0.77 seconds back) will start the second half of the race tomorrow in third place. The Russian athlete, who won the overall World Cup in 2019, set a new starting record (5.29 seconds) during heat one of the World Championships.

Janine Flock of Austria, the 2016 and 2019 European Champion, is currently fourth (1.10 seconds back) ahead of overall World Cup winner Jacqueline Lölling (GER, 1.11 seconds back). Sixth place is held by the Junior World Champion Anna Fernstädtová (CZE, 1.52 seconds back).

So, at the mid-way point in the World Championships for the women’s skeleton, the top six is made up of athletes from five different countries.

Made up of runs three and four, the World Championship finals for the women’s skeleton in Altenberg will take place from 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, 29 February. ©RWH2020

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Marina Gilardoni (SUI, 2020 European Championship silver medallist)

“It’s incredible. I’m standing in the leader’s box and thought ‘Something’s not right here’. But I am super pleased. It is so much fun to race here. The conditions changed quite a lot, even during training. Transferring this experience to the race has gone really well I think.”

Tina Hermann (GER, 2016 and 2019 World Champion, overall winner of the 2016 World Cup)

“I had some terrible problems with the start today. I almost tripped during my first run. That really annoyed me. Luckily, I was able to advance during run two despite the fact I am capable of even better. My run-up was much too short. The conditions aren’t on our side with this snow but the second run was still pretty good.”

Elena Nikitina (RUS, Europameisterin 2017 und 2020, Weltcup-Gesamtsiegerin 2019)

„Of course I am far behind the leader so I need to fight. I have to review my second run to understand the mistake. I will try to drive tomorrow as I did in the first heat today and try to go for the title. The conditions were equal today even with the snow.“

Photos: IBSF / Viesturs Lacis

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