Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

Swiss team happy with St Anton performances

SRI Media


The president of the Swiss skiing federation has told swissinfo that he was happy with the team's performance at the St Anton world championships, despite returning to Switzerland with just half of the six medals originally targeted.

Duri Bezzola said it was important to remember that two of the three medals won by the Swiss team were gold, with Michael von Grünigen and Sonja Nef crowned world champions in the men's and women's giant slalom races.

In addition to the bronze medal won by Paul Accola in the men's combined, Bezzola insisted that Switzerland could take pride in the four fourth-place finishes that had so nearly brought further medal glory.

"I'm happy with our overall performances over the two weeks," said Bezzola. "We knew that Michael von Grünigen and Sonja Nef were our top skiers. But although we expected medals of them, things can be very different at the world championships.

"If things had all gone just a little better, Corinne Rey-Bellet could have finished third rather than fourth in the downhill and in the combined. I know that's all ifs and buts and that things could have also gone a little worse. But although we reached only 50% of our original target, I think we can still be happy with how it all went."

The medal tally from St Anton was certainly a marked improvement on Switzerland's last showing at the Vail world championships, from which the team returned with just two bronze medals.

The two gold medals in Austria also lifted Switzerland to second in the national table, behind only the Austrians themselves. It was the first time in ten years that the Swiss had finished a world championships in such a lofty position.

The Swiss skiing federation is unlikely to become complacent in the wake of St Anton, though. With Von Grünigen and bronze medallist Paul Accola among the oldest members of the team, Bezzola admitted that the problem of finding new talent remained.

"That is of course a problem for us," he nodded. "But here in St Anton we have seen Lillian Kummer recording the best time in the second run of the giant slalom. Silvano Beltrametti also skied very well in the downhill and Didier Defago is starting to come through."

Bezzola also pointed to a number of successes at the junior world championships in Verbier as evidence that the federation is starting to develop the potential amongst the country's young skiers.

Although Austria again bagged the lion's share of the medals, a more worrying aspect of St Anton for the Swiss federation could be the number of other countries snapping at their heels.

While the Austrians managed to take three gold medals, the remaining seven were shared by no less than six different countries. With the Salt Lake City Olympics now just a year away, the Swiss federation's next demanding target might be to defend the second place won in St Anton.

by Mark Ledsom


Neuer Inhalt

Horizontal Line

subscription form

Form for signing up for free newsletter.

Sign up for our free newsletters and get the top stories delivered to your inbox.

Click here to see more newsletters

The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting

The citizens' meeting