Super start in St Moritz

Super start in St Moritz

Great Britain enjoyed a sensational start to the World Championships, with Matt Weston the clear leader in the men’s skeleton and team-mates Marcus Wyatt and Craig Thompson sitting third and fifth at the halfway mark.

Weston leads the 36-strong field by more than a second as he attempts to become just the second British man to win a global title following Kristan Bromley’s success in Altenberg 15 years ago.

The 25-year-old, who has won the last two World Cup races and was crowned European Champion in Germany last week, clocked a time of 2 minutes 13.96 seconds across the first two of four heats in St Moritz, Switzerland. He sits 1.13 seconds ahead of Italy’s Amedeo Bagnis, with Wyatt a further 17 hundredths of a second back.

Weston led by just under half a second from Bagnis after the first run and he more than doubled that advantage in Run 2 after setting a track record of 1.06.88 seconds at the spiritual home of sliding.

All three Brits were among the fastest starters, with Weston second and fourth quickest off the top, Wyatt third and second and Thompson third and tenth.

GB have only ever won two men’s World Championship medals, with Adam Pengilly taking silver in Lake Placid a year after Bromley won his maiden world title, but they now have a huge chance to take two in one race as Thompson is just one eight hundredths behind Wyatt and seven hundredths adrift of South Korea’s Seunggi Jung in fourth.

Olympic Champion, World Cup points leader and reigning double World Champion Christopher Grotheer is back in ninth at halfway, 1.91 seconds adrift of Weston, while Olympic silver medalist Axel Jungk is 18th.

“The guys have done brilliantly and they should be really proud of how they’ve performed so far. This is our biggest event of the year so to perform that well on the biggest stage is outstanding,” said British Skeleton’s Performance Director, Natalie Dunman.

It’s a really good start and we’re all pleased with where we’re at…but it’s only halfway. There’s lots of work to be done tomorrow to make sure we make today really count.

“The team will regroup and refresh tonight and go again on Friday looking to finish the job.”

The most recent World Championship medal for the British Skeleton team came in 2017 in Konigssee when Lizzy Yarnold claimed her second bronze a year before she became back-to-back Olympic Champion.

Yarnold previously won gold in Winterberg in 2015, two years after Shelley Rudman took top spot in Moritz. Amy Williams and Alex Coomber won silvers in 2009 and 2001.

After the first two heats of the women's race on Thursday afternoon, Laura Deas sits tenth, Brogan Crowley 19th and Tabby Stoecker 20th of 32 sliders.

Deas, whose previous World Championship best is seventh in Winterberg in 2015, recorded a combined time of 2 minutes 17.89 seconds, 1.51 seconds behind race leader Susanne Kreher of Germany. The 2018 Olympic bronze medalist is a second shy of Jane Channell in the bronze medal position, with Channell's Canadian team-mate Mirela Rahneva occupying second spot.

Crowley is 1.29 seconds back from Deas, with Stoecker a further 13 hundredths behind on her World Championship debut.

The men’s race concludes with Runs 3 and 4 from 8am GMT tomorrow, with the final two runs of the women's race scheduled for 12.30pm tomorrow.