SKELETON: Ice queen Shelley speeds to World Championship crown

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Shelley Rudman (middle) celebrates her World Championship triumph with silver medallist America's Noelle Pikus-Pace (left) and bronze winner, Sarah Reid, of Canada (Pictures: AP Photo/Keystone, Arno Balzarini) Shelley Rudman (middle) celebrates her World Championship triumph with silver medallist America's Noelle Pikus-Pace (left) and bronze winner, Sarah Reid, of Canada (Pictures: AP Photo/Keystone, Arno Balzarini)

SHELLEY Rudman clinched the first Skeleton World Championship title of her career in Switzerland this morning.

Pewsey slider Rudman, 31, maintained her overnight lead in St Moritz to become the first British woman to clinch the global crown and emulate fiance Kristan Bromley, who was the men's champion in 2008.

The Wiltshire woman, the 2011-12 World Cup series champion, held a healthy lead after a magnificent two runs yesterday, holding a lead of a second over America's Noelle Pikus-Pace, with British compatriot Lizzy Yarnold in third.

Pikus-Pace marginally ate into the lead in the final two runs this morning, but Rudman still cruised to overall victory, 0.57 of a second clear of the American. Britain's Lizzy Yarnold was fourth after being pipped to bronze by Canada's Sarah Reid.

Rudman told Eurosport: "It went really well yesterday and I knew there was more of that coming today, but I still didn't expect to win, so I'm very happy."

It marked a major return to form for Rudman, who won a World Cup race in Winterberg in December, in a season she has admitted using for development purposes ahead of next year's Sochi Winter Olympics.

The 2006 Olympic silver medallist had seen the second half of her World Cup season severely hampered after being struck down by a chest infection and flu at Christmas.

But today's victory is likely to prove a major boost to her hopes of landing the gold medal at next year's Olympics in Sochi, Russia, with a boost to her funding expected as a result.

British sliders have an affinity with the St Moritz track. Olympic champions Tony Nash and Robin Dixon won world gold there in 1965, as did Frederick McEvoy's four-man crew in 1937.

MORE TO FOLLOW AT GAZETTEANDHERALD.CO.UK/SPORT AND IN NEXT WEEK'S GAZETTE & HERALD

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