By Michael Pavitt

Natalie Geisenberger successfully defended her women's singles world title in Latvia ©Getty ImagesGermany successfully defended two titles on the opening day of the International Luge Federation (FIL) World Championships in Sigulda, Latvia, today.


Another German, Felix Loch, meanwhile, has set his sights on moving another step closer to overhauling Italian Armin Zöggeler's record in the men's singles. 

The Championships started in style for Germany as the Olympic champion Natalie Geisenberger defended the world title she won at the 2013 edition in Whistler.

Geisenberger has been the dominant force in the women's World Cup throughout the season, including a run of six consecutive victories, so her triumph in Sigulda did not come as too much of a surprise.

She underlined her class in the first run on the ice by breaking the four-year-old course record, setting a new best time of 42.014sec, and refused to surrender her lead in the second run, securing the gold medal with a combined time of 1min 24.142sec.

The holder of the previous track record was another German, Tatjana Hüfner, and the four-time world champion finished amongst the medals again as she took the bronze, behind Tatiana Ivanova of Russia, the only woman to have beaten Geisenberger this season.

"It's always great to defend a title," Geisenberger said.

"But I'm also quite proud of the fact that I'm achieving the same very high standards this year as I did in the Olympic season."

Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt took gold in the luge doubles at the World Championships ©Getty ImagesTobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt took gold in the luge doubles at the World Championships ©Getty Images



The German domination continued in the men's doubles luge as the 2014 Olympic champions Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt defended their world title in the same style as Geisenberger, lowering the existing track record from 42.000sec to 41.929 for combined time of 1:23.900.

It proved enough to see off challenge of Austrian pairing Peter Penz and Georg Fischler, who were the best of the rest and claimed the silver medal, while Italy's Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber clinched bronze.

At the 2013 World Championships, in Whistler, the Germany scooped medals in all four luge events and following the two gold medals on the first day of action attention now turns to Loch.

The 25-year-old already has two Olympic and four world singles titles to his credit and is currently the second most successful men's singles luger, behind Zöggeler, winner of six singles world titles during his career.

Loch is in confident mood ahead as he attempts to close the gap on the Italian, claiming he is "on a roll".

Following the conclusion of tomorrow's men's singles event Loch will join forces will Geisenberger, Arlt and Wendl in the team relay event, with Germany bidding to once again confirm their dominance of the sport.

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