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World Sport

Paerson clinches World Cup title


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Paerson picked up her third crystal globe of the season.

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ANJA PAERSON FACT BOX

Born: April 25 1981, in Tarnaby, Sweden
World Cup wins: 21 (14 slalom, 7 giant slalom)
2004: Overall, slalom and giant slalom World Cup champion.
2003: Giant slalom World Cup champion, World giant slalom champion in St Moritz.
2002: Olympic slalom bronze and giant slalom silver medalist at Salt Lake City.
2001: World slalom champion in St Anton, bronze medalist in giant slalom.
2000: World junior champion in slalom and giant slalom.

Born in the same town as Swedish slalom great Ingemar Stenmark who won a record 86 World Cup races in the 1970s and 1980s.

Coached by her father Anders, who also trains the national team. Has a home in Monaco.

First Swedish woman to become overall champion since Pernilla Wiberg in 1997.

SESTRIERE, Italy -- Sweden's Anja Paerson wrapped up the women's overall World Cup title with a sixth-place finish in the final slalom of the season.

Nearest rival Renate Goetschl, a speed specialist, finished last in a race won by her compatriot Marlies Schild.

"I'm very, very happy," said Paerson, who becomes Sweden's first champion since Pernilla Wiberg in 1997.

"I really wanted to wrap it up today so I could enjoy the last day of the season tomorrow. I was nervous in the first run and made it hard for myself but I knew what I had to do."

The 22-year-old succeeds Croatia's Janica Kostelic who missed the season due to injury.

Needing only to finish in the top 11, Paerson was 16th after the first leg, but soared up the standings by setting the fastest time on the second leg.

First career win

Schild claimed her first career win in a combined time of one minute 41.82 seconds, finishing ahead of American Sarah Schleper and Finland's Tanja Poutiainen.

"I knew I could make it, it was difficult and I was nervous but this is just great for me," said the 22-year-old.

"I've had frustrations in the past but to win like this, on an Olympic hill, is very special for me."

Paerson won 10 races during the season, six in slalom and four in giant slalom, to also win the titles in both of those disciplines.

"Anja had a super season," said Goetschl, the 1999-2000 overall winner.

"She proved that she was super consistent. Her development was very impressive.

"She was consistently making results this season and she's getting better and better in the speed disciplines. She's a benchmark for the future. I hope I will be able to break that benchmark."

The final race of the season, a giant slalom, takes place on Sunday.


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