British skeleton athletes primed for World Championships bid

British skeleton athletes primed for World Championships bid

23 February 2017 / 07:59

A day remains until Great Britain’s skeleton athletes kick off their 2017 World Championship campaign in Koenigssee.

And with next year’s Olympic Winter Games fast approaching on the horizon, the chance is there to lay down a marker ahead of Pyeongchang.

A total of six athletes will compete for Britain in Germany with Olympic Champion Lizzy Yarnold heading up the women’s team alongside Laura Deas and Donna Creighton while the men’s team comprises Dominic Parsons, Jerry Rice and Jack Thomas.

As opposed to the World Cup circuit, the World Championships see athletes compete over four rather than two runs with the first two runs for both men and women taking place on Friday.

For Yarnold, it will be a return to the World Championships scene after she missed the 2016 edition while taking a year out of the sport.

The 2015 Champion started her comeback season strongly with a fourth-place in the opening World Cup race before picking up silver before Christmas.

And while 2017 has yet to yield another podium finish, the 28-year-old is confident of being right in the mix.

“My results have not been as good as I want but I am pleased with things as a whole and I feel like I am in a strong place,” she said.

“What has been good has been racing week in week out again. It’s extremely demanding so it has been good getting used to that again.

“My aim is Koenigssee is to put in a good performance, I would be happy with a top three. We are then off to Pyeongchang for the test event.

“My personal expectations are always very high. I also put pressure on myself.

“I feel like over the next year I still have plenty of time to improve my results.

“My dream is that gold next year and being the first British winter Olympian to defend their title.”

Deas meanwhile is currently ranked number seven in the world and has been in the top six at three World Cup races in as many months.

“It’s been an important year of learning for me and my coach,” she said.

“It’s a case of consistency. I want to win a medal at the World Championships, it’s what you aim for when you go to this competition.

“In theory, the track should suit me, it’s a short track that should lend itself to my strengths as a push athlete.

“We’ve had a good training block since the last World Cup and I think I’m in a good place to produce a good result at the World Championships and then build towards next year.”

For the men’s team, Parsons will be by far the most experienced Brit to take to the ice having appeared at three previous Championships.

He achieved a season’s best result of seventh when the athletes travelled to Koenigssee for the World Cup back in January, leaving him optimistic of improving on last year’s tenth-place finish at last year’s World Championships.

“It’s great to do well at a World Championships and getting a medal would be amazing and great going into Pyeongchang,” he said.

“I have had some strong results there as it’s quite a short track.

“There are encouraging sings there although sometimes it’s been frustrating this season.

“My push start has not been where I expected it to be. But I have been working on it and it’s slowly improving and I have made progress.” 

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Sportsbeat 2017