Weston wins WC gold & Euro title

Weston wins WC gold & Euro title

Matt Weston won back-to-back World Cup gold medals as he was crowned European Champion in Altenberg on Friday afternoon.

Weston took top spot for the second week running following success at the same track seven days ago, making it three World Cup golds in the last four races for the 25-year-old after he also won in Lake Placid just before Christmas.

With the sixth of eight World Cup races doubling as the continental championships once the results of all non-Europeans had been removed from the standings, Weston became the first British man to take the European title since Kristan Bromley in Cesana 15 years ago.

It also marks the first European Championship gold for the British Skeleton programme since double Olympic Champion Lizzy Yarnold won in Igls in 2015. 

Weston clocked a combined time of 1 minute 54.16 seconds to finish 0.35 seconds clear of Germany’s reigning Olympic Champion Christopher Grotheer, who placed second in both competitions, and 0.38 ahead of another home favourite and Olympic silver medalist Axel Jungk in third.

The former England youth international in taekwondo was 0.37 seconds ahead after the first run and always looked in control throughout the second heat as he maintained an almost identical advantage despite the pressure of being the last man off. 

"I’m delighted with that," said Weston. "I said after winning here last week that I wanted to do it again so it feels pretty sweet to have done that. To be the first Brit to be European Champion for a long time is a great feeling.

"I knew I could improve after last week - I knew there was more in the tank - and I feel like I did that, particularly in that first run. I was more nervous for this week coming off the back of winning last week, to be honest, so I was really pleased that the work I did with the coaches this week on that paid off.

Beating Grotheer and Junkg two weeks running on a track where the Germans are so tough to take down is something special.

"It’s another big confidence boost for the World Championships in St Moritz next week. I’ll definitely enjoy this one today but then the focus is straight on to Moritz. It’s a quick turn around with the race starting Thursday but I feel like I’ve build up some really good momentum over the last few weeks so I’m looking forward to trying to keep that going at the Worlds."

Marcus Wyatt just missed a first European Championship medal of his career as he finished fourth (World Cup fifth), with Craig Thompson fifth (World Cup 10th). 

Wyatt finished in 1 minute 55.01 seconds, with Thompson coming down in 1.55.61 to ensure all three Brits made the wider podium in the European Championships.

Today’s results see Wyatt remain second behind Grotheer in the overall world rankings, with Weston jumping from fifth to third with two races remaining.

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Matt, Marcus & Craig all made the European podium

The women’s race begins at 2.30pm GMT, with bobsleigh action following on Saturday and Sunday.

The World Cup circuit then takes a break, with focus switching to next week’s World Championships in St Moritz.

The season showpiece begins on Thursday with heats 1 and 2 of the men’s and women’s competition followed by heats 3 and 4 on Friday. The mixed team competition takes place on Sunday, January 29th.