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BOBSLEIGH: The brakes are off
BOBSLEIGH star Paula Walker says that she’s ready to get down to business after Great Britain’s line-ups for the upcoming Winter Olympic qualification season were confirmed this week.
Number one womens’ pilot Walker, who lives in Paxcroft Mead with mens’ GB1 pilot John Jackson, will be reunited with the brakewoman who supported her as she became World Junior champion in 2011, after Rebekah Wilson, 22, was named as her partner for the season opener in Calgary on November 26-30.
Walker’s regular brakewoman Gillian Cooke has been demoted to the GB3 sled but the Wiltshire-based driver is delighted for team-mate Wilson.
“We all got back from selection camp in Latvia in the early hours of Monday morning without being told the teams so we all had to wait and find out like everyone else,” the 27-year-old told the Wiltshire Times.
“Rebekah is a tremendous athlete and she’s absolutely over the moon. She’s done so well after taking a year out and losing her funding whilst she worked on getting physically stronger.
“She burst on the scene when we won the World Junior Championships and she deserves her chance. It’s a shame for Gillian but she’s still a great athlete too.
“We’ve got around a week now until we fly out to La Plagne to get ready for the season.
“Everything’s ready to go and we’re all just ready to get out there and show people what we can do.”
Mens’ GB1 driver Jackson, who is currently on the road to recovery from a ruptured Achilles’ tendon, also discovered the line-up for his four-man sled this week.
The 36-year-old will be supported by former international sprinter Craig Pickering, Bruce Tasker, Stu Benson and Joel Fearon.
To secure a place at Sochi 2014, Great Britain’s squads need to be within the top 20 in the world rankings at the end of the Winter Olympic qualification period on January 19, 2014.
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