British short track speed skating team chief Stuart Horsepool is upbeat ahead of the first of two crucial World Cup events that could decide Winter Olympic ambitions.
This week's competition in Turin and the following week's in Kolomna, Russia serve as Olympic qualifiers, with quota places in Sochi up for grabs.
Horsepool will take a nine-strong team to both events where they will face over 130 men and 110 women all vying for the 32 individual distance quota places and eight relay places available at the Games in February.
He wants to qualify three individual male and female slots plus a men's and women's relay team - which would be the biggest short track squad Britain have ever taken to the Games since the sport made its debut in 1992.
“Even though we are confident in the squad’s ability to be able to secure the quota places, short track is a sport where anything can happen and there are some factors that are out of the skaters’ control, as we’ve seen at the last two World Cups, so it will be a tense week for everyone," said Horsepool.
“The coaching staff and I are very pleased with how preparations have gone in the run up to the qualifying events this month. The athletes are currently making their final preparations in Turin and they are looking forward to competing.
“The men’s team are confident after winning bronze at the World Cup in Seoul, but they are experienced and know not be complacent, particularly after their unexpected fall in Shanghai in September.
“The women are still a young team and they finished in ninth after the first two World Cups. It will be difficult for them because they are young team and they’ve only been skating together for a year, whereas some nations have been together since the last Olympics.
"However they are constantly improving and they broke the British record in Seoul, so it is realistic that they could qualify.”
© Sportsbeat 2013