By Michael Pavitt

Semen Pavlichenko won the men's singles event ahead of Olympic champion Felix Loch ©Getty ImagesSemen Pavlichenko today stunned Felix Loch to claim Russia's first ever International Luge Federation World Championships gold medal in Sigulda, Latvia.

Sergey Danilin had won the world title for the Soviet Union at the 1981 in Hammarstrand, Sweden, but Pavlichenko's victory marks the first gold medal for Russia following the break up of the Soviet Union.

Germany's Loch was aiming to win his fifth men's singles world title and close in on Italian Armin Zöggeler's record, but the Olympic champion was forced to settle for silver behind Pavlichenko, who was fastest in both runs.

His first run of 48.137 seconds saw him leading the standings at the halfway mark and the Russian showed no sign of nerves to deliver a second run of 48.151, with his combined total of 1min 36.288 enough to see off the challenge of Loch.

Italy's Dominik Fischnaller had finished ahead of Loch in the first run but a crash in the second robbed him of a prospective medal and Austria's Wolfgang Kindl took advantage as he claimed bronze.

Felix Loch joined his team mates to claim gold in the mixed team relay ©Bongarts/Getty ImagesFelix Loch joined his team mates to claim gold in the mixed team relay ©Bongarts/Getty Images

"My preparations were aimed solely at the World Championships, and that's why I didn't compete in all of the World Cups," said Pavlichenko.

The 2010 and 2014 Olympic champion Loch praised his rival following the race.

"I'm also happy with silver, particularly on such a difficult track as the one here in Sigulda," he said.

"That's what our sport is all about, and I did my best.

"But Semen was better, and had an amazing race."

Loch was able to bounce back in the mixed team relay event as he joined forces with newly crowned women's singles champion Natalie Geisenberger, and men's doubles champions Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt to earn gold.

The Germans have made the event their own, with their win in Lativa securing an eleventh consecutive world title in the discipline, with the streak dating back to the 2000 world championships in St Moritz, Switzerland.

Russia were able to take silver in the mixed team relay, while Canada claimed bronze.

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