Amani Fancy (London) finished her European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOWF) in style placing 11th in her free programme which placed her 15th overall. Skating to music from the ‘Mask of Zorro’ Amani shook off her nerves to pull off a fantastic performance.
“It was much better today my training beforehand wasn’t that good so I was a little nervous but competition went much better,” said Fancy. “The support today was amazing, I love my sport and when the music starts I just can’t stop and I hope everyone enjoyed watching. Overall it could have been much better but considering the short programme I am overjoyed with the result.”
At Cheile Gradistei, the venue for the biathlon competition, biathlete Sam Cairns (Kinguisse) was again the highest place GB biathlete in the 7.5km sprint competition placing 62nd in a highly competitive field.
“Today went ok, my shooting was not as good as it could have been but skiing felt good and still needs to be faster. I finished 62nd just shy of my top 60 target and I am pleased with that, but it would of been nice to move up a few positions.
Despite a disappointing competition Cairns and his teammates Robert Sircus (Inverness) and Lachlan Cowie (Kinguisse) all agreed that they would learn from their experience in Braşov and go home with fire in their bellies and a drive to work harder to better their performances.
“The main thing I will learn from my EYOWF experience will be the standard of the competition, added Cairns, “I now know how hard I need to work over the summer months to catch up with the best in Europe at this age.”
Sircus and Cowie placed 72nd and 78th respectively.
Cross country skiers Sarah Hale and James Clugnet, who had already taken part in the free and classic technique races this week in Braşov were both competing in their preferred discipline today – the sprint.
18-year-old Hale secured her best result of the festival, completing the 1.3km course in a time of 3:20.11minutes, good enough for 43rd overall.
But with only the top 30 qualifying through to the heats that meant that Hale’s week was over, much to her disappointment.
“I definitely skied a bit better in the sprint,” said Hale, who secured an impressive 16th place finish in the sprint at last year’s Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck.
“But I did not get the result that I wanted, I was hoping to qualify for the heats and then hopefully I would have had a chance to go even further. It has not been a great week for me but I have learned a lot from it, I have to use this experience to improve and learn from it. The girls here have been so good, the standard is really high and that just motivates me to come back stronger.”
Teammate Clugnet also produced his best finish of the week in the boy’s sprint placing 56th in a time of 2:53.89.
The final sport in action for Team GB on the fourth day on competition was the GB boys alpine quartet. Ranked in the top ten in the world in his age group in slalom, GB’s Billy Major (Cambridge) had a fantastic chance to repeat the heroics of compratriot Charlie Raposo (London) who finished sixth in Tuesday’s giant slalom, the best-ever result for a British male skier at a Youth Olympic Festival.
Unfortunately the tough slalom course saw more than half the field fail to finish including Major, Raposo and teammate Max Baggio (Harpenden).
“That was a great chance for me and an opportunity missed,” said Major. I'm disappointed of course but these things happen and as a racer you just have to try and deal with it.
“This has been a great experience for me and I have enjoyed every minute of this week,” he added. “I would have liked to have registered a time, of course I would, but I will learn from this and take it on to the rest of the season. I would not change anything from the week, I don’t see the point in being cautious just to get down the slope and register a time. I'm going out there to race and get good results, I give every race my all and that will always be the way.”
Laurie Taylor (Basingstoke) was the only Brit to get down two runs and placed a fantastic 29th place.
“I’m pleased to have got down the two runs and been the only Brit to register a time,” he said. “Parts of both of my runs were very good but I made mistakes in both that cost me a lot of time. But to have made the top 30 is a nice result and I will take a lot away from this week in terms of experience. It’s good to see that British skiers can compete with the very best in the world.”
Day Five Preview
GB’s final competitor in action for the 11th edition on the EYOWF is figure skater Graham Newberry. 14 year-old Newberry, who is the youngest member of GB, currently sits in the bronze medal position after a superb short programme on Wednesday evening.
Team Leader/Coach Christian Newberry said:
“Training was amazing today, Graham had a really good run through and he feels ready to compete tomorrow. The pressure of competing is the unknown, but Graham is as prepared as he can be. We are really pleased with draw so we are in a good spot. Whatever the result Graham has already achieved more than we expected he would at this competition. To medal would phenomenal, looking over the list of previous EYOWF champions there are names on that list who have gone on to be World Champions, so to medal would be just be a dream come true.”