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Aussie Baff wins world champs snowboard cross silver

Snowboarder Josie Baff has become the latest Australian winter sports star to earn a medal at the world championships, racing to silver in Bakuriani.

The 20-year-old reached the final of the snowboard cross on Wednesday, outpacing US Olympic champion Lindsey Jacobellis in the big final to grab second place behind the runaway winner, Czech Eva Adamczykova.

It was another terrific breakthrough for the 2020 youth Olympic champion, who becomes the first Australian woman snowboard cross racer to collect a world championship medal.

She also earned her first World Cup triumph earlier this season and has now made an major impact in her debut appearance at the world freestyle ski and snowboard championships.

Her medal was the fourth won by Australia at the Georgian resort, following aerial skier Danielle Scott's silver and Matt Graham's silver in the moguls and bronze in the dual moguls.

Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Tess Coady finished just off the podium, placing fourth in the snowboard slopestyle.

Baff won her last-eight and quarter-final races, before qualifying for the final with a second-place finish in the semi.

Any chance of gold, though, quickly evaporated in the final after Adamczykova, the 2014 Olympic champion, made a spectacular start, opening up a big enough gap over the first third of the course to leave her rivals battling for the other podium spots.

Jindabyne snowboarder Baff, who hails from a family steeped in winter sports, came nearest to narrowing the gap while holding off the 37-year-old Jacobellis, the most decorated snowboard racer in history.

France's Manon Petit Lenoir was fourth.

Baff, who crashed out in Beijing, is one of Australia's outstanding prospects for the next Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina.

"I just let out a little squeal, and I was like, 'Wow this is really, really cool'. After a few minutes it sunk in and I realised what I had done," an excited Baff said.

"It was a long day, and the runs were long and exhausting, so I was really happy that my legs were able to hold it together for that last run.

"It's really nice to have this medal and I'm so grateful for my coaching team and the wax technicians who did an amazing job of making my boards speedy. I'm very happy."

In a league of her own on the Georgian course, Adamczykova's triumph marked the culmination of a remarkable comeback from the Czech, who broke both of her ankles just two months before the 2022 Beijing Games in a career-threatening accident.

"In the autumn, I never thought I'd snowboard again," Adamczykova said.

"I didn't think this season would turn out like this. I couldn't have asked for better."

Austria's Jakob Dusek claimed his first world medal with a dramatic gold in the equivalent men's event, pipping German Martin Norl in a photo finish.

Australia's Cam Bolton and Adam Lambert made the small final, with Bolton finishing second for an overall sixth-place, while Lambert did not finish and ended up eighth overall.