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  Monday, 10 February, 2003, 15:42 GMT
Kostelic claims narrow victory
Croatia's Janica Kostelic
Kostelic was the stronger in the afternoon slalom
Triple Olympic champion Janica Kostelic picked up her first world championship gold medal with victory in the women's combined event in St Moritz on Monday.

The 21-year-old Croatian, who has been struggling with a knee injury, gave her country their first ever medal in the event.

Kostelic triumphed by just 0.06 seconds from Austria's Nicole Hosp with Switzerland's Marlies Oester in third.

It's not a big injury - but it's really painful

Janica Kostelic

Hosp held a 0.17sec lead after the first slalom leg with Kostelic down in 12th 0.67sec adrift.

But she proved strongest in the second run to claim victory.

"It was a close race but it was interesting to watch," said Kostelic.

"I'd never paid much attention to world championships but now no one can say I don't have a world championship medal."

Kostelic said she had to ski through the pain barrier to break her championship duck.

"It's not a big injury - but it's really painful. I was having trouble in the downhill. I was trying not to think about it," she said.

However Kostelic revealed that the injury may force her to miss the giant slalom on Thursday.

"It's very painful," she said. "I will rest it and see how it goes before deciding.


Women's combined results

1. Janica Kostelic (Cro) 2 min 41.63 sec
2. Nicole Hosp (Aut) 2:41.69
3. Marlies Oester (Swi) 2:43.83
4. Marlies Schild (Aut) 2:43.85
5. Maria Riesch (Ger) 2:44.60
6. Martina Ertl (Ger) 2:45.02
7. Julia Mancuso (USA) 2:45.30
8. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby (Swe) 2:45.31
9. Sarka Zahrobska (Cze) 2:45.51
10. Resi Stiegler (USA) 2:45.65

The 2003 World Ski Championships from St Moritz

Race reports

Competition
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