Bobsleigh: Pickering delighted by his world debut as brakeman

 

Sprinter-turned-bobsleigh brakeman Craig Pickering declared himself happy with his 19th place in his inaugural world championships.

Pickering and his team-mate John Jackson had a combined total over four runs of 4 minutes, 28.20 seconds, 5.42sec behind Francesco Friedrich and Jannis Bäcker of Germany on the Olympia Bobrun in St Moritz.

He tweeted: "19th in my first bobsleigh world champs. Pretty good weekend!"

Pickering turned to bobsleigh after having his funding cut as a sprinter. He is aiming to get to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but insists that he will go back to the athletics track before Rio de Janeiro 2016.

Friedrich became the youngest ever two-man bobsleigh world champion while defending champion Steven Holcomb of the United States dropped out of the medal places.

At 22 years 270 days, Friedrich took a record set in 1935 by Swiss driver Reto Capadrutt, according to bobsled's world governing body.

Friedrich and brakeman Bäcker were 0.56sec faster than silver medalists Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter of Switzerland. Friedrich drove to a combined four-run time of 4:22.78 on the Olympia track.

"When I jumped into the sled in the third run and saw how smoothly we were running, I knew that nothing could go wrong," said Friedrich, who is the first man to win senior and junior world titles in the same season.

Hefti and Lamparter, who won the European title last week, finished clear of German bronze medallists Thomas Florschütz and Andreas Bredau, who trailed Friedrich by 1.19sec.

Holcomb and Steven Langton finished fourth, 0.08sec off the podium, after being third in the opening two runs on Saturday.

Friedrich was fastest in three of the four runs, with World Cup standings leader Lyndon Rush of Canada quickest in the third run which opened yesterday's competition. Still, Rush only moved up to finish eighth from 10th place overnight.

In the two-woman bobsleigh, Britain's Paula Walker and Gillian Cooke finished in 14th. Walker said: "It was a truly disappointing day." Kaillie Humphries of Canada defended her title with brakewoman Chelsea Valois.

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