At the 23rd FIL Luge World Championships on Natural Track in Umhausen (AUT) two medal decisions were on the agenda on Saturday. Evelin Lanthaler (ITA) was able to successfully defend her title in the women's singles. The gold medal also went to defending champions Patrick Pigneter/ Florian Clara (ITA) in the doubles.
Evelin Lanthaler had a perfect day on the 955-meter-long “Grantau-track”. The defending champion set the best time in both runs and won her third gold medal in 2:28.40 minutes after 2015 in Sankt Sebastian and 2019 in Latzfons. Ekaterina Lavrenteva from the Russian Luge Federation celebrated a fantastic silver medal, 1.38 seconds behind. The living legend in luge on natural track (59 World Cup victories/12 overall World Cup victories/four-time World Champion) also won the silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in Umhausen, just like ten years ago. For the hosts, Tina Unterberger (+2.21 seconds) won the first medal in these championships as third.
Fifth world title for Pigneter/Clara
In the doubles the Italians Patrick Pigneter/Florian Clara impressively demonstrated their role as favorites. With the best time in both runs the veterans secured with the total time of 2:34.60 minutes their fifth gold medal after Moos 2009, Deutschnofen 2013, Sankt Sebastian 2015 and Latzfons 2019. Thanks to a brilliant second run the European Champions Patrick Lambacher/Matthias Lambacher (ITA) won won their first World Championship silver medal with a gap of 0.90 seconds after they were fourth after the first run. The bronze medal went to the Austrians Christoph Regensburger/Dominik Holzknecht (+1.00 seconds), just 0.02 seconds ahead of their team mates Fabian Achenrainer/Simon Achenrainer (+1.02 seconds). As a side detail: The Juniors World Champions 2012 Regensburger/Holzknecht ended their careers three years ago and returned to the World Cup in the 2020/2021 season especially for the World Championships in their home village of Umhausen. Now, after winning their first medal at World Championships - the luge ends up in the basement again.
(from left) Lambacher/Lambacher (ITA), Pigneter/Clara (ITA) and Regensburger/Holzknecht (AUT)
After the medal ceremony the International Luge Federation nomiated the French Charlotte Marie Roche as FIL Athlete of the Year 2021. She made huge progess the last season and finished the World Championships on 18th position.
On Sunday the last two medal decisions are on the program at the 23rd FIL Luge World Championships on natural track. The men's single and the team competition will be streamed live on the homepage of the International Luge Federation FIL https://www.fil-luge.org/en/live-streaming-natural
The quotes of the medalists:
Evelin Lanthaler (ITA/Gold): “I am completely satisfied and am delighted with this gold medal. The lead is big, but it was anything but easy to get this top performance in this race. I was very focused on my race. I was particularly happy about the congratulations at the finish from Greta Pinggera, who unfortunately didn't go so well today. "
Ekaterina Lavrenteva (RLF/Silver): “It's nice to be back on the podium at a World Championship after such a long time. Of course I could have avoided one or two mistakes, but I am very satisfied with my performance. "
Tina Unterberger (AUT/Bronze): “I had some difficulties at the beginning of the season. But the closer the World Championships got, the better my form was. I'm not really satisfied with the second run, but I'm very happy with the bronze medal. I would like to thank my service man Robert Batkowski who made fast equipment available to me. "
Patrick Pigneter/Florian Clara (ITA / Gold): “We were the favorites and after the training runs the pressure was even greater. That's why we were a little nervous before the race. Nevertheless, we managed to make two good runs and of course it's a great feeling to be World Champion again. "
Patrick Lambacher/Matthias Lambacher (ITA/Silver): “We went all-in in the final and are of course overjoyed that we were even able to make up two positions. Having teammates like Pigneter/Clara is really priceless because we can learn an incredible amount from such great athletes.“
Christoph Regensburger/Dominik Holzknecht (AUT/Bronze): “We are very satisfied. A World Championship medal was our goal for this season and we achieved that. Today luck was on our side. It was absolutely the right decision to come back again. But that was definitely our last race. "
The video-highlights of the day:
The medal table after day 1:
1. Italy: 2 Gold/1 Silver/0 Bronze
2. Russia: 0 Gold/1 Silver/0 Bronze
3. Austria: 0 Gold/0 Silver/2 Bronze
The program of the 23rd FIL Luge World Championships on natural track 2021
Sunday, February 14th
9.30 a.m .: 1st run men‘s single
11.30 a.m .: Final run men’s single, followed by a flower ceremony
1.30 p.m .: team competition, followed by a flower ceremony