Ice hockey player Katherine Gale (Crowthorne - pictured) starred for Team GB on day three of the Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck as she recorded the second highest score in the ice hockey skills challenge event to qualify for the knockout finals which take place on Thursday. In the quarter final she will face Agnese Tartaglione of Italy.
Gale, who amassed 31 points in the six challenges, which include shooting accuracy, agility, passing and skating skills, said: “It went really well today and i’m really happy with qualifying in second place. My favourite skill challenge is definitely the passing one but I found the speed lap tough so I will work on that in training before the final. I’m going to keep working at all the skills and go for the final. I’m aiming to do my best in the final, focus on getting good scores, and if I get a medal, that would be amazing. The Italian girl in the quarter final will be hard, but to win gold i’ve got to beat them all, so i’m ready for it. The whole Youth Olympic experience has been incredible, it’s amazing just to be here – a once in a lifetime experience.”
In the men’s ice hockey skills competition Team GB’s Lewis Hook (Peterborough) finished twelfth and therefore does not progress to the quarter finals. Hook said: “I’m devasatated but it’s a really hard competition and i’m pleased with my performance overall, but i hoped for better than 12th. I did well in the slating but a couple of the drills – passing and shooting – let me down today. The rest of the Games has been really good and i’m really pleased for Katherine, coming second was good for her and for Team GB. I’ll now support my teammates and especially Katherine. I’ve got a GCSE test the day I get back from Innsbruck so no stopping for me.”
In the biathlon at the Seefeld Arena Team GB’s Calum Irvine (Aviemore) produced a solid performance to finish 29th in a 50 strong field in the 10km pursuit.
Irvine said: “The pursuit went really well, I set off very strongly and had moved up about five places inside the first lap. I came in to the shooting range and missed one on the prone which was disappointing because I felt good and it was a really close miss. The next lap I was still moving up the field before the shoot but I missed three and that dropped me right back down the running. In both the sprint and pursuit my skiing was definitely the strongest part of my game but I came in too hard for the last shoot and that cost me in the end. Overall I would have liked to have finished higher of course, the results aren’t where I wanted to be, but still it’s been a great experience and I'm not unhappy with the performance. I’ve got the British Championships straight after this in Ruhpolding, Germany so that’s the next target, then I’m home for a couple of weeks before the World Juniors in Finland.”
Team GB’s curlers got off the mark with a hard fought 7-5 win over Italy in the evening game. The British curlers showed great spirit to come back from 4-5 down after six ends to win the match 7-5. Earlier in the day Team GB suffered an agonising 7-5 defeat to Japan in a match that was decided by an extra end after GB had led on three occasions during the game. With one win and four defeats Team GB will need to win both of their final pool matches tomorrow and hope that other results go their way to enable them to qualify for the quarter finals.
Thomas Muirhead (Perthshire) said: “It’s frustrating not to have it in our own hands from now on but we will take a lot of confidence from our first win out here in Austria. We rode our luck and the Italians had the chance to win it, but we deserved that bit of fortune because we haven’t had much in the tournament so far. It was a pretty good performance, it should have been more comfortable but we’re pleased to have got the win. We can’t be focusing on other results at the moment though, we know that we just have to win both of our remaining games and hope for the best.”