Wachter sweeps back from injury


Anita Wachter produced a sizzling second run to overtake her Austrian team-mate Alexandra Meissnitzer and win the World Cup women's giant slalom skiing race in Semmering, Austria, yesterday.

Wachter, a 31-year-old veteran, continued her return from a horrendous knee injury incurred in a fall at Cortina in Italy last January to overhaul in-form Meissnitzer and win with a combined time of two minutes 7.9 seconds.

"It's incredible - I really didn't expect this," said Wachter. "After my accident last year I didn't expect to be skiing like this again.

"I decided not to quit because I had a good feeling on skis in the autumn and realised I could still keep up with my younger team mates," she said.

After her success Wachter was quick to thank the people who engineered her comeback.

"I have to thank my doctors for doing such a good job on my knee as well as everyone else who helped me get over the difficult times," she said.

Meissnizter, the overall World Cup leader and winner of five previous races this season, led after the first run but finished 0.74 seconds behind Wachter after the veteran's attacking second run.

"Anita has been gradually regaining her form - I knew that," said Meissnitzer. "She skiied more aggressively than me today and its great that she won."

Andrine Flemmen of Norway was third. It was Wachter's ninth career World Cup giant slalom win. She was the 1993 World Cup champion.

Meissnitzer's second place enabled her to increase her overall World Cup points to 891, well clear of second-placed German Martina Ertl (540 points).

In the giant slalom standings, Meissnitzer leads with 360, head of Flemmen (239) and Wachter (196).