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  Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 13:48 GMT
Paerson takes gold
Sweden's Anja Paerson
Paerson led after both runs in the giant slalom
Sweden's Anja Paerson claimed gold in the giant slalom at the World Ski Championships as favourite Jana Kostelic struggled with injury.

Paerson beat Italy's Denise Karbon by a comfortable 1.55 seconds, with Canada's Allison Forsyth in third a further 0.24secs back.

Kostelic was sufering with a sore knee and never looked in contention, finishing in 13th place.

It used to be me doing all the work. These days I let the skis do the work for me

Anja Paerson

Reigning champion Sonja Nef of Switzerland lost a pole half way down after straddling a gate and could only manage eighth.

Paerson, who hails from the same town as slalom legend Ingmar Stenmark, has been involved in a tussle all season with Italian Karen Putzer.

But Putzer could only manage sixth as Paerson, last year's Olympic silver medallist, was in a class of her own.

Paerson, who also won gold in the 2001 slalom at St Anton, confessed surprise that Sweden's first gold of the championships should come in the giant slalom.

"I didn't think I'd be standing on top of the podium today," said the 21-year-old.

"It's unbelievable. My head is together better than ever, my technique has improved and I skied a better line."

Britain's Chemmy Alcott achieved her best ever placing in a senior World Championships, finishing 25th.

The 20-year-old, already competing in her third Championships, was outside the top 30 after a tentative first run but improved on her second.


Women's giant slalom - leading finishers

1 Anja Paerson (Swe) 2min 30.97secs
2 Denise Karbon (Ita) 2:32.52
3 Allison Forsyth (Can) 2:32.76
4 Michaela Dorfmeister (Aut) 2:32.83
5 Tina Maze (Slo) 2:33.03
6 Karen Putzer (Ita) 2:33.10
7 Manuela Moelgg (Ita) 2:33.19
8 Sonja Nef (Swi) 2:33.28
9 Andrine Flemmen (Nor) 2:33.60
10= Martina Ertl (Ger) 2:33.65
10= Birgit Heeb-Batliner (Lie) 2:33.65

The 2003 World Ski Championships from St Moritz

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