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CHARLOTTE BANKES CLAIMS SILVER AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Snowboard cross star Charlotte Bankes has won the silver medal at the 2019 World Championships in Park City, USA.

After switching countries from France in November, Bankes has won three Europa Cups, stood on the World Cup podium and has now won Great Britain’s first-ever snowboard cross medal at a major championship.

The 23-year-old was clinical in qualifying yesterday, setting the third-fastest time to comfortably win through to the quarter-finals.

Bankes finished second in today’s quarter-final before scoring an emphatic victory in her semi-final to earn her place in the final four.

With USA’s five-time World Champion Lindsey Jacobellis eliminated in the semis, the medals were expected to be decided by Bankes and the last two Olympic gold medallists, Eva Samkova (CZE) and Michela Moioli (ITA).

Out of the start gate it was Bankes and Samkova who were away best, with the Czech rider taking a decisive edge into the first turn. While Moioli dropped back to fourth early on, she was soon on Bankes’ tail and the three favourites were in the medal positions.

As the trio jockeyed for track position throughout, a relatively clean race ended with Samkova claiming her first world title ahead of Bankes with Moioli in third.

Speaking after the medal ceremony, Bankes was excited to have stepped on the World Championships podium for the first time, marking her first major championships medal.

“It’s great to actually be enjoying snowboarding again, to be pain free,” said Bankes, referring to both her recent switch back to Great Britain and also her long recovery from a 2011 pelvis injury which she is finally almost fully-recovered from. “It was fun racing, a fun final.

“It was always going to be tough; Eva and Michela, they’re both Olympic gold medallists but it was just really good hard, fun racing.”

Already a three-time World Cup winner and two-time Olympian, Bankes described today’s performance as the best of her career.

“This one is above them all. I’ve always struggled in the one-day events, I’ve never ridden that well but today was fun, everything seemed to go to plan. It’s nice after all the hard work which everyone has put in.”

** Ollie Davies, Emily Sarsfield and Emma Peters will take to the start gate later tonight in ski cross qualifying ahead of tomorrow’s knockout stages.

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