Silver, bronze medals for New Zealand

ANTHONY MOMOEMAUSU
Last updated 18:42 28/07/2013
Hannah Sarten
Getty Images
BRONZE MEDAL: Hannah Sarten in action at Vector Arena.
Marc Willers
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
SECOND: Kiwi Marc Willers celebrates on the podium after picking up the silver medal.

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New Zealand's Marc Willers is the best of the Kiwis after finishing second in the final of the men's elite at the UCI BMX world championships in Auckland.

It was the best ever finish at the world champs by Willers who crossed the line in a time of 23.492 seconds and was edged out by Great Britain's Liam Phillips who came in 0.212 seconds faster. 

German Luis Brethauer rounded out the top three. However, Willers was the only Kiwi to feature in the final as fellow countrymen Trent Jones and Daniel Franks were eliminated in their semi-final runs earlier in the day.

He said it was bittersweet to have picked up second saying he made an error at the gate but made the choice to complete the race and hold onto his position.

"I came out here wanting to go mistake-free and made a crucial mistake and hit the gate in the final, but it's the best position I've ever had at the worlds.

"Had to make a big decision going into that second turn on whether I was going to go for the win or not.

"Decided to cling to second. It was still a better result than what it could've ended up so I'll take it."

Willers, who had been vocal about the Vector Arena track earlier in the week, maintained it was still a tight track but was pleased to grab silver in front of a supportive home crowd.

Willers said watching the other riders crash out had made it hard to get excited or keep mentally focused - former world champion Sam Willoughby and Olympic champion Maris Strombergs from Latvia missed the final after they were knocked out in earlier qualifying races - but was full of praise for the British rider in Phillips.

"I'd said to my roommate at the beginning of the day that I really didn't want Liam [Phillips] in my moto because he's a secret squirrel that always comes out and kills everybody when he wants to and he proved he could do it today."

Meanwhile, it was another great day for New Plymouth rider Hannah Sarten as she picked up bronze in the junior elite women's category.

Sarten was beaten out by the American pair of Felicia Stancil and Shayona Glynn, but was ecstatic to have earned a place on the podium after saying that she had almost fallen off on the second straight. 

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"I feel great, I haven't felt like this in so long," the 17-year-old said. "It feels amazing."

In the elite women's competition Australian Caroline Buchanan beat out compatriot Lauren Reynolds as Manon Valentino from France finished third.

The junior elite men's race saw American Sean Gaian overcome Gonzalo Molina from Argentina and Germany's Jeremy Rencurel respectively.

- Fairfax Media

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