Adam Pengilly produced an outstanding performance to win Great Britain’s second silver medal of the Skeleton World Championships in Lake Placid.
Pengilly’s silver today (Saturday) came just over 24 hours after team-mate Amy Williams struck silver in the women’s competition. Both athletes train at the University of Bath.
It is the first time Britain’s skeleton sliders have won two medals at a World Championships and comes less than a year to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
Pengilly was down in 15th place in the field of 31 athletes after the first run and then climbed to first in the second run yesterday – only to see the second run cancelled and declared void due to heavy rain.
But retuning to action today he shot up to ninth in the third run and then produced the fastest run of the competition – 54.78 seconds – to top the leader board
With the final heat run in reverse order and with the eight leaders from the penultimate heat still to race, the 31–year-old then faced an anxious wait.
One by one his opponents went off and Pengilly watched them fail to reach his mark. Only Switzerland’s Gregor Staehli, who was second going into the last run, could beat Pengilly to take gold. Russia’s Alexander Tretiakov, who led going into the final heat, dropped down to the bronze medal position.
It capped a difficult season for Pengilly, who suffered a groin injury and so, after a break to recover, dropped out of the World Cup squad to compete on the second tier Intercontinental Cup circuit.
But he showed his mettle by producing some terrific results there, including beating the Germans on their own track at Konigssee.
After winning silver Pengilly, who lives and trains in Bath, said: “I had to try to get myself up again after the disappointment of yesterday. I’m very happy now. I’ve won a silver medal and I would have taken that at the start of the week.
“I thought I could get into the top five before the final run, but I didn’t really think a medal was possible.
“The final run today was so sweet, it was close to a perfect,” he added. “There wasn’t a whole lot wrong with it. It was great all the way down.
“There have been some highs and lows this season, but it’s great to make it on to the podium at the World Championships.
“UK Sport have been great with all the support they have given us, it has made a real difference,” he added.
Andi Schmid, GB performance director, paid tribute to Pengilly’s performance. “What Adam has achieved personally is absolutely incredible.
“He has had a difficult year, but after his injury he had to recharge his batteries and get focussed. I knew it would work out because he is so hungry.
“To win another silver medal is great for the programme. The whole system is obviously working well and we have peaked at the right time.
“It’s the culmination of a strong programme and set of athletes, and the great support we have had from UK Sport, Adidas and our other partners.
“For me this is already history. We will celebrate this, but we now have less than 12 months until the Olympics in Vancouver.”
Britain’s defending World Champion, Kristan Bromley, ended the day in 14th place overall with team-mate Ant Sawyer 18th.
After the cancellation of the second run yesterday, Pengilly arrived at the track today in 15th with Bromley 16th and Sawyer 21st.
Pengilly produced another fine run for heat three – his 55.23 was joint second fastest and enough to propel him to ninth overall. Bromley climbed to 14th with Sawyer up from 21st to 19th, securing the top-20 place that earned him a place in the final heat.
Pengilly, like Williams, trains at the University of Bath, where British Skeleton has its base.
Final positions 2009 Bauhaus Skeleton World Championships
Gold: Gregor Staehli (SUI) – 56.16, 55.33, 55.09 = 2:46.58
Silver: ADAM PENGILLY (GBR) – 56.92, 55.23, 54.78 = 2:46.93 (+ 0.35 )
Bronze: Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) – 56.25, 55.23, 55.61 = 2:47.09 (+ 0.51 )
14th: KRISTAN BROMLEY (GBR) – 57.03, 55.78, 55.49 = 2:48.30 (+ 1.72 )
18th: ANT SAWYER (GBR) – 57.81, 55.95, 56.24 = 2:50.00 (+3:42 )
The British Skeleton Programme is funded by UK Sport, The National Lottery, and TASS as well as partners Adidas and Panasonic.
Great Britain has an impressive track record in the sport of bob skeleton. British sliders have won medals at the last two Olympic Winter Games – Alex Coomber won bronze at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City and Shelley Rudman won silver at the 2006 Games in Torino.
Britain’s Kristan Bromley dominated the 2007/8 season, completing a hat-trick by winning the World Championships, the World Cup series and the European Championships. Bromley also won the World Cup series in 2003/4 and the European Championships in the 2003/4 and 2004/5 season, while Rudman captured the European Championship title St Moritz in 2009.
Posted: Saturday 28th February 2009