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Page last updated at 08:23 GMT, Sunday, 22 February 2009

Brit bobsleighers win World gold

By Anna Thompson

It is the second time Minichiello has finished on the podium in the World Championships
It is the second time Minichiello has finished on the podium in the World Championships

Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke are celebrating becoming the first British women to win gold at the Bobsleigh World Championships.

The British duo beat America's Shauna Rohbock and Elana Meyers by 0.38 seconds after the four runs at Lake Placid in New York.

Minichiello described the track as magical adding: "It's fantastic. It's great for my country. I'm so glad."

The last Brits to win gold were Anthony Nash and Robin Dixon in 1965.

Women only began competing in the World Championships in 2000 and Germany have captured six of the golds awarded in that time.

But this year, World Cup winner Sandra Kiriasis, who switched her brakeman during the competition, could only finish seventh.


The British duo were second after the first two runs on Friday but a storming third run put them in the lead and a solid final run saw them clinch gold - less than a year before the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

There was a moment of drama when Minichiello forgot to close her visor at the start of the third run but she managed to release her hand from the controls to close her shield - and posted the fastest run of the heat.

Cooke, 26, from Edinburgh, only came into the sport this season and was immediately selected for Minichiello's GB1 bobsleigh team.

Minichiello, a 30-year-old teacher, who trains at Bath University, has finished on the podium at the World Championships before. In 2005 she won a silver medal with brakewoman Jackie Gunn.

This season she finished third in the World Cup standings and fourth in the world rankings.

Minichiello added: "I really felt going into here that this track is such a magical track that it could have been anybody's day, and it was."


see also
Best season for Brit bobsleigher
16 Feb 09 |  Winter Sports
Team GB take aim for Winter Games
12 Feb 09 |  Winter Sports
Rudman nets World Cup second spot
13 Feb 09 |  Winter Sports
Macey eyes bobsleigh at Olympics
05 Feb 09 |  Winter Sports
Rudman battles injury to win gold
16 Jan 09 |  Winter Sports
Winter Sports on the BBC
20 Jan 09 |  Winter Sports

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