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Swiss still waiting for first ski medal

Rey-Bellet lost some valuable time on her first slalom run

(Keystone)

Switzerland's skiers are still looking for their first medal at the world championships in St Anton following Friday's action in the women's combined event.

Corinne Rey-Bellet narrowly missed out on a medal for the second time this week after recording the fourth quickest time overall. After coming fourth in the afternoon's downhill race, the speed specialist lost some valuable ground during the first slalom but appeared briefly to have put herself back in contention with a good second run.

The race, which is judged on the combined times of a downhill and two slaloms, was most notable for the shock elimination of the two favourites Janica Kostelic and Renate Götschl.

Kostelic, the Croatian teenager, who has won all seven slalom races so far in this season's World Cup programme, could offer no explanation after losing control of her skis during the first slalom run of the evening. Her mistake appeared to open the door for Götschl, but the Austrian then span off course herself just metres from the finish line.

Germany's Martina Ertl was the main beneficiary of the two errors, the 27-year-old finishing in a combined time of two minutes, 55.56 seconds to take the gold. Despite Götschl's elimination, the Austrians did get their first women's medal of the week, with teenager Christine Sponring grabbing the silver. Bronze went to Karen Putzer of Italy.

Rey-Bellet will have another chance on Sunday when she competes in the pure downhill race. Before that comes the turn of the men. Silvano Beltrametti, Didier Cuche, Bruno Kernen and Franco Cavegn will make up the Swiss contingent hoping to speed their way to medal glory on Saturday in the sport's fastest and most prestigious discipline.

by Mark Ledsom

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