SPORTS

Elisabeth Vathje of Calgary finishes 2nd in World Cup skeleton

02/07/2015 11:19 EST | Updated 04/09/2015 05:59 EDT
Elisabeth Vathje of Canada continued her strong season on the World Cup skeleton circuit, placing second in Igls, Austria, on Saturday.

The 20-year-old Calgarian posted a two-run time of one minute 49.46 seconds on the 1,220-metre track, finishing 0.18 seconds behind reigning Olympic women’s champion Lizzy Yarnold of Britain for her fourth medal of the season.

“That was a close race,” Vathje was quoted as saying on the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation website. “I’m really delighted, especially with my second run (54.83 seconds).

“Unfortunately, I can’t compete in the second race here [Sunday that doubles as the European Championship] because I had withdrawn from the original race [last week] in La Plagne [France].” That event was later cancelled due to poor weather.

Vathje hit the finish 0.19 seconds ahead of European champion Janine Flock of Austria, who was third, who holds a narrow lead in the overall World Cup standings after the seventh of eight events.

It was redemption for Vathje, who was runner-up to the winning Flock at an event in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Jan. 23.

On Dec. 19, Vathje won her first skeleton race in just her second race, on her home track at Canada Olympic Park.

A week earlier, Vathje was second in her World Cup debut in Lake Placid, N.Y.

In other Canadian results on Saturday, Jane Channell was seventh (1:50.09) and Lanette Prediger ninth (1:50.55).

For Yarnold, Saturday’s win, her third of the season, came after a poor first run.

Lost time

She lost pace when her sled steered out of the groove before entering the track but she still finished the heat in fourth, 0.11 behind leader Flock.

“I have never slipped on the push-off in a race before,” she said. “After that I just wanted to make up time and have a clean second run. I was actually quite tired going into the second run

“Because this is our fifth week consecutively we are competing, so it's a bit of an endurance race.”

Also Saturday, Martins Dukurs of Latvia won his sixth skeleton World Cup event of the season to wrap up the overall title with a race to spare.

Dukurs, who won the European Championship last week, posted the fastest time in both runs. His 37th career win stretched his lead in the overall standings to 226 points over his older brother Tomass, with one event remaining in Sochi, Russia, next week. A win is worth 225 points.

"This is a great time to be here, to take part in this competition because you see what's happening here," Dukurs said, pointing at a group of cheering Latvian fans. "That gives extra motivation and emotions."

Dukurs beat Russians Alexander Tretiakov by 0.45 and Nikita Tregybov by 0.74 with the rest of the field more than 1.25 off the lead. TomassDukus finished 1.51 behind in eighth.

Tretiakov remained the only athlete to beat the Latvian this season by winning in Koenigssee, Germany, in January.

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