Figure skater Luke Digby got his Erzurum 2017 campaign off to the best possible start on day one of the European Youth Olympic Festival with a personal best in the boys’ singles event.
Digby recorded a score of 49.32 with a clean routine in front of a noisy crowd in Erzurum and lies seventh with Wednesday’s free programme deciding the medals.
The 16-year-old from Sheffield was cheered on by his teammates as the first day of action in Erzurum got underway.
“That was amazing today. It was great to skate in front of almost a full house of over a 1,000 people, including a lot of my teammates, and that really helped me deliver the best short programme I’ve ever done,” said Digby.
“That was definitely the noisiest crowd I’ve ever skated in front so it gave me great confidence to know that I can produce my best skating in that setting. I haven’t competed internationally for nearly two years so it’s great to get out here and show what I can do.
“I’m hoping to repeat the performance in the free skate on Wednesday and get another personal best. I’m really excited and I can’t wait for it.
“The whole experience has been brilliant and I’ve settled in really quickly. I’m sharing a room with the speed skaters and they’ve been great. It’s such a positive atmosphere in the team and it’s great to be a part of that.”
In the girls’ event, Team GB’s Anna Litvinenko is ninth after a score of 39.01 and will be hopeful a move up the standings when the free programme draws the event to a close.
At the Palandoken Ski Resort, the girls’ giant slalom opened the week’s alpine skiing events with both Abigail Bruce and Olivia Ward both recording top 30 finishes.
Bruce finished in 26th, 8.40 seconds off gold medallist Rinata Abdulkaiumova of Russia, while Ward was just two places and 0.26 seconds behind her teammate. Alicja Kraahelski, the team’s third racer today, skied out in the opening run to end her chances of recording a finish.
Bruce said: “My goal was to get a top 30 today and I managed that so I have to be pretty happy. I gained two seconds on my second run and that felt a lot better than my first.
“The conditions are great and it’s certainly a bigger event than we’re used to – we’ve even got the big screen that they have to World Cup races – plus the crowds and cameras really show how big an event this is for us.”
Elsewhere, at the Kandilli Nordic Ski Center, Oliver Newman was the best placed British finisher in the cross country skiing 7.5km classic, coming home 38th with Jack Nicholls in 41st.
Oliver’s twin brother Fergus was two places further back in 43rd with Brodie Murray completing Team GB’s field in 49th.
You can follow Team GB’s journey at Erzurum 2017 on TeamGB.com, via social media on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook and also on the Olympic Channel.
The Olympic Channel will be showing live action from each day of the Festival as well as producing a 20-minute highlights package each evening.