AN ANDOVER woman has finished fourth in her category at the Biathle World Championships in Florida, despite nearly missing the event altogether.

Two time World Champion Margaret Smith recently competed in the competition, which took place at the Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, Florida.

But Mrs Smith, who has not missed a championship since the first in 1999, so nearly missed the event this year after organises moved the race forward by four hours – unbeknownst to her.

Mrs Smith discovered the change at the exact time the race was rescheduled to start, thanks to a chance look on the computer from her husband.

However the biathlete was already packed and ready to go, and arrived on site to find the organisers were running late, and she was able to start the race as normal.

Her Masters C men and women (age 60-69) competitors were all lined up on the start line waiting for the tailenders of the previous race to finish.

Mrs Smith got numbered up and changed quickly and set off without a warm up.

The first 800 metre run was tough, but once in the lake for the 100 metre swim she soon made up for her slow start and got alongside South Africa’s Agnes Griesel.

The two women were trying hard to get past a Spanish opponent, and after some difficulty he moved out of the way.

He the same to Margaret, who eventually got past him.

Ms Griesel reached transition first, but Ms had an excellent transition and was off on her 2nd 800 metre run quickly.

Her second run was good and she kept her Spanish opponent behind her, with Ms Griesel behind him, to finish fourth.

She was part of the British gold medal winning team of three in her class.

Next year’s World Championships is due to be held in Turkey.