Lizzy Yarnold beats defending champion Janine Flock to claim Skeleton European title

The Olympic champion posted the two fastest runs

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The Independent Online

Lizzy Yarnold won her second skeleton World Cup race in successive days to become European champion in Austria on Sunday.

In difficult conditions because of snowfall at the Igls track, the Olympic champion posted the fastest time in both runs to defeat the defending European champion, Janine Flock of Austria, by 0.30 seconds. Britain’s Rose McGrandle was 0.39 behind in third.

It followed Yarnold’s victory in the World Cup at the same track on Saturday and made the 26-year-old the first Briton to become European champion in the sport since Shelley Rudman won her second title in Winterberg, Germany, four year ago.

“It doesn’t matter whether I won Olympic gold or not, I am just trying to become a better athlete,” Yarnold said. “It’s been awesome support here. I have to thank my mum and dad for coming to watch all the way from the UK.

“Being European champion was a huge goal of mine. I desperately wanted to add that crown. It was one of the goals for the season and the other one is the World Championships so it’s been a really, really good day.”

The European Championship race doubled as a World Cup event – the seventh and penultimate of the season. It replaced the previous weekend’s event, which was cancelled because of poor conditions at La Plagne, France.

Yarnold’s victory closed the gap on World Cup leader Flock to 53 points with one event remaining, in Sochi. A maximum of 250 points are still available at the venue where Yarnold won the 2014 Winter Olympics gold.

Tina Hermann lies second in the standings, now 27 points adrift after finishing fifth; Flock needs only a podium finish in Russia to secure the title.

The World Championships will take place in Winterberg on 6 March.