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Bronze medal at the U23 World Championships!

From 28 January to 4 February 2023 the Junior and U23 World Championships were held in Whisler, Canada. This was one of the main goals for this year and I almost didn't make it. To qualify for this event, you had to either have a top 6 or two top 12 finishes in the Continental Cup (COC). With my back problems at the beginning of the season I couldn't take part in the first COC. I only had three races left to qualify, including a 10km skating race in ST-Ulrich, a classic sprint and a classic 20km race in Obersdorf, but none of these races allowed me to reach the selection criteria set by Swiss-ski. So I had to stand out from the others at the Swiss championships and that's what I managed to do by winning the 15km skating race with a 50 sec lead over the second place. I'm leaving for Canada confident and eager to see what I can do against the rest of the world. The first race was the classic sprint. Without much expectation, I managed to get through the prologue in 21st place to finish last in my quarter final, watching the level of my opponents in the classic. After studying my shortcomings in the push with my coach Toni Livers, I focus on the next part of the programme, i.e. the individual 10km skating. This is my preferred style and distance, so I had to perform. Nervous, I was worried about a bad result or bad form today but I liked the course so that made me feel better. I went for the 10km at full speed. It took me a while to get into my race and with the number 3 bib, I didn't have much information at the intermediate times. On the second lap, a Finn who was doing his first lap caught me and I was able to hang on and even drop him in the last kilometres to get a magnificent 6th place, 5sec from the podium. It's an incredible result that bodes well for the future!

But there was no time to celebrate this result because the next day was the meeting that the whole team was waiting for, the mixed relay. In the classic, Nadja Kaelin at the start will give the relay to Nicola Wigger. Anja Weber will then do the skating and will pass the relay to me to finish the job. On paper, we were a good team, but everyone still had to be in shape on the day. After a lot of changes and an excellent relay from Anja Weber, I started in first position followed closely by 5 other nations. Still in the lead with 1km to go, I lost first and second place on the last climb but managed to outrun the Norwegian to win a bronze medal for my team. It was a liberation for me and an unforgettable moment of pleasure with the whole Swiss team!

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