Skiing: Compagnoni makes title history for Italy

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The Independent Online
Deborah Compagnoni picked up her second gold medal of the World Championships yesterday, the first Italian to do so.

The double Olympic gold medallist clocked 2min 39.19sec over the two runs of the giant slalom to win by a comfortable margin and become the first Italian to defend an Alpine world title successfully.

The victory makes the 26-year-old only the fourth woman in the 60 years of the championships to win back-to-back titles in the same discipline. She won the giant slalom title a year ago in Spain and won this year's slalom title on Wednesday. Compagnoni also joined her compatriot, Alberto Tomba, on five career world championship and Olympic gold medals, although she has won them in more disciplines.

"There were so many fans here it would have been really awful to let them down." Compagnoni said. "It was difficult. It may have seemed easy but it was tough."

Switzerland's Karin Roten, runner-up in the giant slalom to Compagnoni in last year's championships, in Sierra Nevada, finished second once again, in 2:39.99.

France's Leila Piccard, sister of the 1992 Olympic downhill silver medallist, Franck, finished third following a remarkable comeback after she had finished 12th after the first leg.