New Zealand's Chris Lord was today crowned the 2019 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Rookie World Champion, winning the title by the finest of margins at the stunning Tjolöholm Castle in Sweden.
In an enthralling contest, Lord finished joint top of the overall standings, locked on 32 points with Australia's Josh Bakes as the southern hemisphere pair dominated the final three disciplines of the competition.
Unable to separate the two by points, Lord was awarded first place having posted an overall time of 57.36 seconds, a mere 0.23 seconds faster than Bake's 57.59. Sweden's Emil Hansson completed the top three, earning himself a spot on the podium in his home country after an impressive display.
The 2019 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Rookie World Championship saw the 10 best newcomer athletes combine to set some blistering times, with a number of personal bests and even a new world record of 15.98 for Josh Bakes in the Underhand Chop.
Both Lord and Bakes started the four-discipline competition slowly, finishing sixth and seventh respectively in the Stock Saw. However, the two soon began to stamp their mark on proceedings, finishing in the top three positions in each of the remaining three disciplines, despite almost half the field achieving personal bests in the Standing Block Chop, Single Buck and Underhand Chop.
Lord maintained an impressive level of consistency throughout the competition and not even Bakes' incredible world record in the Underhand Chop was enough to stop the young Kiwi.
Arguably the biggest cheer of the day came for home favourite Emil Hansson, who secured third place in front of a passionate Swedish crowd at the expense of Great Britain's Finn Neusinger.
2019 STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Rookie World Champion, Chris Lord, commented: "I'm happy to be here and happy to win, it's amazing.
"I knew Josh was going to be tough competition as always, he was the one to beat. I didn't run my Stock Saw as well as I thought I would, but I had a ripper of a Standing Block Chop. I thought the Single Buck would be my downfall, but I ended up coming third in that and then finished it off with the Underhand Chop, which didn't hold me up too much.
Runner up Bakes commented: "I'm still really pleased to come away with second place, we're in beautiful Sweden, it's a great location and it's my first time chopping in a world championship in Europe.
"It's really disappointing losing by 0.2 seconds overall but I'm happy for Chris as he was the better man on the day."
Hometown hero Emil Hansson, who took the bronze medal, added: "It feels good to make the podium here, I was competing against some good guys.
"It was fun competing in Sweden, my home country. The support for me was great, the crowd here were brilliant."
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