Swiss snowboarder clinches gold

A happy Markus Keller after grabbing gold in the final of the men't half pipe competition Keystone

Swiss snowboarder Markus Keller has won the gold medal in the half-pipe competition of the Snowboarding World Championships.

This content was published on January 17, 2003 - 21:42

The 20-year-old from Thurgau impressed with a nearly faultless performance in the Austrian resort of Kreischberg.

Keller put together a smooth run to win his first major medal, with Sweden's Stefan Karlsson taking silver and pre-race favourite Steven Fisher of the United States settling for bronze.

"I'm speechless, it's a miracle," Keller said after the event. "I didn't think it was possible after I tore my ligaments."

Last October, Keller tore his cruciate ligament during a snowboard training exercise in the Swiss resort of Les Diablerets, which prevented him from training for more than one month.

Keller was awarded 45.3 with his highlights, which was a 2 ½ spin 900 and a switch 720 - and he achieved a lot of height on the wall of the half-pipe.

His smoothness seemed to give him a nod over Fisher, the junior world champion, who did a similar routine and achieved 43.3.

This is the third time a Swiss has won a FIS gold medal in the half-pipe event - Fabian Rohrer and Anita Schwaller reached gold in 1997.

swissinfo with agencies

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