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|General News vom 15.02.12|
|FIL President Fendt: “Wonderful World Championship days in Altenberg“|
“Match points” for Huefner and Loch – Advantage Linger-Linger
Sigulda (pps) A total of 15,000 luge fans lined the track in Altenberg, Germany, more than 6,000 on Sunday alone. Additionally, an average of three million TV viewers followed the events on the German public TV station ARD. And during the victory ceremony the flags of five different luge nations were raised in the ice cold wind of the Eastern Ore Mountains. It’s no wonder, then, that Josef Fendt, President of the International Luge Federation (FIL), came to a positive conclusion after the last competition day of the 43rd FIL Luge World Championships in Altenberg: “We experienced wonderful World Championships in Altenberg,” said Fendt, he himself a former two-time World Champion (1970 and 1974).
The newly crowned World Champions certainly hope that their victories will give them further impetus at this weekend’s Viessmann Luge World Cup in Sigulda, Latvia (February 18-19). Tatjana Huefner and Felix Loch (both of Germany) will have “match points” with regard to the overall World Cup victory and the Austrian team of brothers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger hope to take advantage of their reputation as “Sigulda experts”.
Linger-Linger claimed their first World Championship title on the demanding track in the Baltic state in 2003 as well as gold at the 2010 European Championships. Additionally, the two-time Olympic champions celebrated two of their 12 victories in the Viessmann Luge World Cup series in Sigulda. “Sigulda is one of our favorite tracks,” the two brothers said unanimously. Defending World Cup champions Tobias Wendl-Tobias Arlt (Germany), are 15 points behind Linger-Linger and as all their German teammates they have a lot of respect for the demanding track that was opened in 1986.
Tatjana Huefner’s track record, however, shows four victories in Sigulda. Thanks to her leading margin of 90 points on teammate Natalie Geisenberger, the Olympic champion could well wrap up her fifth consecutive World Cup victory at the penultimate event of the World Cup series. Should 28-year-old Huefner succeed, she would draw level with record winner Silke Kraushaar-Pielach.
Felix Loch is 120 points ahead of teammate David Moeller. Thus it seems a foregone conclusion that he will take the overall World Cup crown. “If it works out and I win the overall World Cup for the first time – it would be a perfect season,” the 22-year-old said in Altenberg.
Russia’s Federation, with three silver medals, one of the big winners in Altenberg, will send a “B squad” to Latvia. The top luge athletes, headed by World silver medalists Tatiana Ivanova and Albert Demchenko will prepare for the season’s final back home in Paramonovo, where the 43rd FIL Luge European Championships will be carried out simultaneously.