Two Canadian Women’s Bobsleds Battle into Top-10 at World Championships

Cynthia Appiah and Leah Walkeden eighth, Bianca Ribi and Niamh Haughey ninth

WINTERBERG, Ger.—Two of Canada’s bobsleds stormed into the top-10 in the two-woman World Championships race in Winterberg, Germany on Saturday.

Cynthia Appiah (Toronto) joined forces with Leah Walkeden (Ardrossan, Alta.) to clock an eighth-place time over four runs at 3:46.36. Calgary’s Bianca Ribi teamed up with Niamh Haughey (Toronto) to finish just .01 behind their Canadian mates with a career-best ninth-place finish at the World Champs after stopping the clock at 3:46.37.

“Overall, I’m happy with my performance this week. My goal was four consistent pushes and drives, and we achieved that,” said Appiah. “I’ve gained a lot of insight and confidence in my driving and I’m looking forward to bringing that into the final World Cup in Lake Placid.”

The World Championship race consists of four runs held over two days. Both Canadian sleds clocked identical seventh place times down the 15-corner Winterberg track in the third and final heats at 56.89 and 56.28.

“This shows the resiliency between our two sleds to fight for every hundredth,” added Appiah. “Winterberg is a short track so the margins will be very thin. To come down as tight as we did shows that we’re moving in the right direction as a program.”

The Germans swept the two-woman bobsleigh podium. Lisa Buckwitz and Vanessa Mark were crowned World Champions with a time of 3:43.99. Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi placed second at 3:44.04, while Kim Kalicki and Leonie Fiebig completed the sweep for the host country, sliding to the bronze medal with a time of 3:44.27.

Sitting in 10th spot after the opening two of the four-run test, the 33-year-old Appiah climbed three spots in the standings on the 1,330-metre track to finish as the top Canucks, edging out Team Ribi.

It was the best World Championship finish for the 28-year-old Ribi, who is piloting for just the second season on the elite circuit.

“I’m very happy to have improved on my World Championships from last year,” said Ribi, who was 13th as a rookie one year ago. “The whole season I felt like I was struggling to find my rhythm in the two-man, but thankfully it all came together when we needed results the most.”

The 26-year-old Niamh Haughey provided the horsepower for Ribi to drive a second Canadian sled into the top-10.

“I’m very proud of Niamh for squeezing every hundredth out of the start and getting better each run. She grinded all season with me through the ups and downs so I wanted this more for her than anything,” added Ribi. “We had four consistent runs over this weekend, and that’s what it takes to succeed at this level. I’m looking forward to carrying forward with the many positives I will take away from this World Championships.”

Melissa Lotholz (Barrhead, Alta.) and Alex Klein (Hamilton, Ont.) teamed up to finish 17th in their return to the top sliding sport circuit. The Canadian duo posted a combined time of 3:47.93.

The 2024 World Championships wrap up on Sunday with the final two heats in the four-man bobsleigh race.

Complete Two-Woman Bobsleigh Results:

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