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  Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 13:02 GMT
Turgeon claims downhill gold
Canada's Melanie Turgeon on her way to downhill gold
Turgeon took victory by 0.11 seconds
Melanie Turgeon shocked the favourites to claim Canada's first World Ski Championships gold medal since 1993 in the women's downhill.

Switzerland's Corinne Rey Bellet looked to have secured victory for the host country before Turgeon, starting 28th, took victory in 1minute 34.30seconds.

Rey Bellet had to settle for sharing the silver medal with Austria's Alexandra Meissnitzer, with both clocking 1minute 34.41 secs.

Turgeon, sixth in the super-G last Monday, had twice finished third during training runs but was still not expected to win come race day.

I charged the whole way down, I needed to be the world champion

Melanie Turgeon

The 26-year-old Canadian won the junior title five times but had never won a World Cup downhill race - only a super-G three years ago.

Rey Bellet had shown no form to speak of in training, but rose to the occasion superbly in front of her home fans.

Meissnitzer was poised to take victory when she led by 0.19secs at the second checkpoint, but lost her line in the final run-in.

A delighted Turgeon said: "For some reason, I was always holding back before, I was always asking myself, 'why not me?' so I just went for it today.

"I thought 'why can't I win' so I just charged down."

Brigitte Obermoser, starting fourth, had earlier looked set for victory but had to settle for fourth as the medalists came from the later starters.

Another Austrian, Renate Goetschl, finished fifth, with France's Olympic champion Carole Montillet down in seventh.

Only 0.72 seconds separated the top 10.

Stretchered off

Michaela Dorfmeister, the defending champion and pre-race favourite after winning super-G gold, finished off the pace in 12th.

The race was held up for 15 minutes at one point after Italy's Lucia Recchia crashed and had to be stretchered off the mountain after injuring her back.

Britain had poor luck for the second time this weekend.

Chemmy Alcott was yellow flagged half-way down the course when Russia's Anastasij Popkova crashed out.

Alcott had to start her race again and all the energy she used up in the first attempt took its toll as she finished in 33rd position.

Alcott's situation was a carbon copy of Finlay Mickel's in the men's race a day earlier.


Women's downhill result:

1 Melanie Turgeon (Can) 1min 34.30secs
2 Corinne Rey Bellet (Swi) 1:34.41
3 Alexandra Meissnitzer (Aut) 1:34.41
4 Brigitte Obermoser (Aut) 1:34.57
5 Renate Goetschl (Aut) 1:34.65
6 Jonna Mendes (Can) 1:34.82
7 Carole Montillet (Fra) 1:34.87
8 Christine Sponring (Aut) 1:34.97
9 Isolde Kostner (Ita) 1:34.98
10 Monika Dumermuth (Swi) 1:35.02

The 2003 World Ski Championships from St Moritz

Race reports

Competition
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