EMILY Benham became Team GB’s first ever elite medal winner at the World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships when she claimed silver in the individual sprint race.
The Morgans Vale athlete produced the performance of her lifetime, racing in the dry 40°C heat in the forests of Veszprem in Hungary, where she finished just behind Switzerland’s Christine Schaffner, but 30 seconds ahead of 2010 world champion Anna Kaminska of Poland.
Benham, a member of Sarum Orienteering Club since the age of 11 achieved a personal best of ninth in the long distance race. Navigating a course over 21km and 250m of climb to visit 24 control points, she closed only five minutes behind the winner, Susanna Laurila of Finland, who won in 77.27 minutes, and only 30 seconds away from a top six position.
Such was the high standard of the competitors, the top 32 women all finished within ten minutes of the winner.
Twenty-two-year-old Benham has enjoyed a rapid rise in the sport having only started Mountain Bike Orienteering in 2007.
She achieved four top six results from the Junior World Championships in 2008/2009 after winning the British Championships as an 18-year-old.
The championships in Hungary proved an excellent week for British competitors who eventually secured three gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
For more information visit www.sarumo.org.uk/index.html