SnowsportGB demise 'a blessing'

Eurosport - Fri, 19 Mar 14:58:00 2010

The demise of SnowsportGB has been a blessing in disguise for Great Britain's cross-country skiers, according to the head coach of the British Nordic Ski Team Roy Young.

Great Britain cross-country skiierAndrew Musgrave - 0

The governing body for skiing and snowboarding went into administration just a week before the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, sending athletes' preparations for the Games into chaos.

The British Olympic Association took over responsibility for the competitors enabling Young to oversee the teenage trio of Andrew Musgrave (pictured), Fiona Hughes and Andrew Young - Roy Young's son - as they competed in their first ever Games.

With none of the squad breaking into the top fifty in Canada, Young knows how much work there is to be done before Sochi 2014.

But with a lack of support and funding from SnowsportGB over recent years, Young is looking forward to a more lucrative partnership with the body that has taken over: Team GB Ltd, who will trade as British Ski & Snowboarding.

"It was difficult with SnowsportGB because the people there didn't really understand our specific universe in terms of cross-country skiing," said Young.

"Sometimes it is hard for people to understand that we are different from alpine skiing and have different needs and wants and they never got that.

"So it didn't hit us that hard when they went into administration as they never even gave us much funding anyway.

"We are really looking forward to talking with the new body and trying to make them realise where we are and where we need to go.

"I'm positive that it can be a really great partnership and we can work together to build the profile of the sport and bring in more resources.

"If we are serious about developing the sport then we need to make decisions as soon as possible as to how we can progress and what they need to do to help us."

And Young wants his team to progress enough to be in the top 20 in the world before Sochi in four years' time to give themselves at least an outside chance of a medal.

But the coach is worried. Spreading resources around might result in more youngsters getting involved in the sport, but Young believes that funding should be targeted at one or two key talents if Great Britain want a realistic shot at a spot on the podium.

With Poland having used this strategy to great effect with Olympic champion Justyna Kowalczyk, Great Britain could do worse than single out Musgrave, who came home 55th in the 15km freestyle event, the best British cross-country result at the Games.

"You would have to say there are long odds for us to get a medal at Sochi as it stands with the resources available to us," added Young.

"I am currently doing some research into the benefits of a different approach where one or two athletes are given the money required to really progress to the next level.

"By focusing on them they can get ahead of the usual standards of development and start challenging to be the best in the world.

"At the moment the athletes fund their own trips to competitions and with only a little bit of money from Sport Scotland, there isn't much to go around."

More Than The Games / Eurosport

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