Irvine braced for Dixon battle

Fri, 11 Nov 12:36:00 2011

Up-and-coming skier Calum Irvine insists he is prepared for anything long-term friend and rival Scott Dixon has to throw at him as they prepare to go head-to-head for Winter Youth Olympic qualification this weekend.

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The Scottish duo are both likely to earn a seat on the plane to Innsbruck in January for the inaugural Games, where over 1000 athletes from 60 countries will compete.

Having both honed their skills at the Cairngorm Biathlon and Nordic Ski Club, they must first square up in Sweden to decide who represents Britain in cross-country skiing and biathlon respectively.

The pair flew out to Norway on Tuesday, having spent the summer training on the famous Dachstein Glacier in Austria, and Irvine knows Dixon will push him to the limit for a place in either discipline.

"The Winter Youth Olympics will be the biggest event in my career so far," said Irvine.

"I'll be up against Scott to qualify but we're used to always competing against each other in everything we do.

"We've trained together the whole time we've been doing winter sports, we were in Austria together in the summer on the Dachstein, which was an absolutely amazing experience.

"It's a bit strange going against him for a Youth Olympic place but we always push each other to be better. I think I've got the edge in cross country but it could go either way."

Once qualification is over and done with, Irvine will turn his attentions to the main event itself in Austria, where he hopes to use the experience from his last major international outing.

Liberec in the Czech Republic hosted the European Youth Winter Olympic Festival in February, and Irvine is determined to ensure a potential trip to Austria aids his senior progression.

"In my sports the European nations are the best in the world so I should know the competition fairly well from Liberec but there will be a few new faces from North America," added Irvine.

"There will be a lot more people going out to the Youth Olympics than at any other competition I've been at, but it'll be a new experience for everybody.

"Hopefully it will be more preparation for a chance at going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014. It's quite early in my career but I'll give it my best shot to go and compete for Great Britain."

Sportsbeat / Eurosport

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