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SKIING

Anja Pärson claims world bronze

Sweden's Anja Pärson claimed a dramatic 12th world championship medal on Friday after she claimed the bronze medal in the super combined in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany.

Anja Pärson claims world bronze

Pärson came in behind Austria’s Anna Fenninger and Slovenia’s Tina Maze taking silver to claim her place on the podium.

The medal is Pärson’s first in a world championship since she won three golds at Åre, Sweden, in 2007, giving her a total of 18 medals in her career having also stood on the podium six times at the Winter Olympic Games.

“Every medal is something different and I have great memories of each one, I have had a great career,” beamed the 29-year-old.

“I had to have a strong downhill, but I made two mistakes.”

“It was a bit tight in the slalom, but Anna had a really good run in the slalom and I’m glad she won.”

Anna Fenninger’s victory maintains the Austrian women’s domination at the world ski championships after compatriot Elisabeth Goergl won super-G gold on Tuesday.

“I can’t realise it yet,” said teary 21-year-old Fenninger.

“It was very hard, the slope was really bad. The snow kept springing up, but I just fought through.”

“I wanted to prove to everyone I could do it in the slalom.”

“When you say that to me (that I’m world champion), I can’t believe it. It still has to sink in.”

This was Fenninger’s first major title and having finished fourth in the morning’s downhill, her combined winning time was 2mins 43.23secs with Maze second at 0.09sec back and Pärson at 0.27sec.

This is Maze’s second silver at a world championships after she finished second in the giant slalom in Val d’Isère two years ago.

“I said that Anna would have a good run today, I had a feeling she could also do well in the slalom,” said Maze.

“I’m very happy with my second place.”

Swiss teenager Lara Gut was in contention for a top three place until she took a nasty fall and was sent tumbling down the Gudiberg piste.

Having been the fastest down the Kandahar downhill course in the morning, Goergl finished fifth, just over half a second away from her second medal of the fortnight-long championships.

Home favourite and overall World Cup leader Maria Riesch, the Olympic champion, ended up finishing 11th, having been 15th in the downhill, as she produced a battling performance to race despite the effects of a bout of flu.

“You have to accept these things,” said a disappointed Riesch, who won a bronze in the super-G.

“I did my best, but it wasn’t enough.”

“It is certainly troublesome to be sick, but I already have a medal.”

“I am going to train for the downhill tomorrow to work on the second part of the course where I lost a bit of time today.”

Struggling all week with the after-effects of a head injury, reigning world downhill champion Lindsey Vonn sat out the slalom, having been 12th fastest in the downhill, to focus on defending her title on Sunday.

“I am still not 100 percent fit, I won’t do the slalom, I couldn’t concentrate enough at the end of the race,” admitted Vonn.

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SKIING

Austria avalanche kills three

An avalanche in the Salzburg region killed three people and injured two while they were skiing off-piste, Austria's Red Cross said Saturday.

Snow and avalanche protection fences seen on a clear day on mountains surrounding Lech am Arlberg, western Austria
Some mountains in Austria have snow and avalanche protection fences, like these seen on a clear day on mountains surrounding Lech am Arlberg, western Austria. ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP

The accident happened Saturday about 2,400 metres (7,800 feet) up in the Lungau district, soon after 1:45 pm local time, Red Cross spokesman Anton Schilcher told the APA agency.

The snow buried eight of the group up to 4.5 metres deep, local emergency response official Christoph Wiedl told local media.

Two of the victims were already dead when their bodies were recovered, while the third died after being airlifted to hospital in Klagenfurt.

The two injured skiers were taken to hospital in the town of Tamsweg.

The skiers caught in the avalanche were from a group from the regions of Salzburg and Upper Austria.

In recent years, an average of around 20 people a year have been killed annually by avalanches in Austria.

The last two seasons were less deadly as the coronavirus pandemic reduced the number of skiers overall.

Avalanches killed four people in western Austria’s Tyrol region last February.

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