Laughton confident in British skeleton World Cup selections
October 24, 2013 11:52 am
British Skeleton performance director Nigel Laughton believes his team are in great shape after this week's World Cup selection trials in Altenberg.
Former world number six Donna Creighton will join reigning world champion and 2006 Olympic silver medallist Shelley Rudman, who was pre-selected, and trials winner Lizzy Yarnold in an experienced women's team.
Laura Daes, who finished third in the trials, and Rose McGrandle , who was lying second after two runs when she was disqualified for breaching equipment rules, will compete on the Intercontinental Cup circuit.
The men's team will be compromised of trials winner Ed Smith, Dominic Parsons and former world and three-time European champion Kristan Bromley, who is aiming to make a fourth Olympic team in Sochi.
David Swift, who admitted his sled was set-up incorrectly for the trials after finishing fourth, will join Daes and McGrandle on skeleton's second tier tour, where all three will be looking to impress ahead of a mid-season review of the World Cup team in December.
The decisions were made by British Skeleton's selection committee, chaired Laughton and including coach Andreas Schmid, former Olympian Lord Wrottesley and lawyer Mike Townley.
British sliders will be attempting to qualify up to three quota places for the Olympics at the first seven World Cup races of the season in Calgary, Park City, Lake Placid, Winterberg, St Moritz and Igls.
The final make-up of the Olympic team will be announced in late January.
“It has been great to see such hard fought selection races over the past week," said Laughton, whose team will now travel to Sochi for their last training runs on the Olympic track before next year's Games.
"On the whole we are in great shape and I am delighted that we have for the first time filled all our quota places on each FIBT competition circuit.
"To have four different squads competing at different levels of our sport is encouraging not just for this Olympic season but for the future of British Skeleton.”
Smith - who works part-time as an electrician to fund his sliding after missing lottery funding by a single place last year - was delighted with his win in the trials, especially considering he arrived in Germany worried about his previous record on the track.
“Altenberg and I have had a rocky relationship in the past but we have definitely made friends this year," he said.
"I’m really pleased to have come out of such a strong selection race on top and its even sweeter knowing how hard I have worked to get here this summer.
"We have a really strong squad heading into our Olympic season and I’m confident that we will go out this winter and show people what we are capable of.”
Yarnold also believes she is in the shape to challenge Rudman and upgrade her fourth place at last season's World Championships into regular podiums on the World Cup circuit.
"I’ve been working hard over the past two years and I’m pleased to be in such a strong position at the start of my first Olympic season," she said.
"My next focus is the international training week in Sochi, learning the track in more depth and practicing my Russian."
© Sportsbeat 2013