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Swiss combined hopes rest on Accola

Switzerland’s Bruno Kernen failed to make it past the first slalom

(Keystone)

Veteran Paul Accola was the only Swiss skier to successfully complete both slalom runs in the men's combined event at the alpine world skiing championships in St Anton on Monday.

Didier Defago and Bruno Kernen both lost control of their skis on a piste of tight turns and soft snow. Defago was an early casualty, thrown off course near the top of the first run, while Kernen was unlucky to crash out near the bottom of the second.

Although Accola made it through to Tuesday's downhill section, the 33-year-old from Graubünden faces a tough challenge if he's to add another bronze medal to that which he won in the same event two years ago.

Competing in his seventh world championships, Accola also came close to losing control on the last run but held on to take fifth place going into Tuesday's decider.

Accola's medal chances would seem to rest on eliminations higher up the field, though. The top three skiers after Monday's races all have a lead of more than two seconds over the Swiss.

Defending champion Kjetil Andre Aamodt remains narrowly on course to defend his title with a margin of 14 hundredths of a second over Austria's Mario Matt. Another Austrian, Rainer Schönfelder, is currently in third place, more than half a second behind Aamodt.

by Mark Ledsom


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