Emery hails Minichiello influence

Fri, 20 Jan 18:41:00 2012

For a schoolgirl to credit her bobsleigh experience as the crucial component in her bid to claim Winter Youth Olympic Games gold sounds a bit far-fetched.

2010 GB bobsleigh generic - 0

But, having had former senior world champion Nicola Minichiello as her mentor, Dronfield teenager Kirsten Emery insists she's one step ahead of her rivals.

Emery has been honing her bobsleigh driving skills for over two years, at first under the tutelage of three-time Olympian Minichello, who also grew up in Dronfield.

The 18-year-old has since kicked on from those days, doing enough at a European qualification round last year to earn herself a spot at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympics in Innsbruck.

And with her bobsleigh experience defying her tender years Emery is confident her first taste of an Olympics on January 22 can end with a medal celebration.

"I am really excited about it because it is really close now," said Emery - who is now coached by another three-time Winter Olympian Lee Johnston and will partner Frances Slater in Austria.

"The European qualification went really well and we did well in the four races there so that has given us a lot of confidence that we can get a medal.

"Also our team has had a fair bit more time in the sport than the teams from a lot of other countries so I think that will give us an advantage.

"Quite a lot of teams have only been doing the sport for about six months but because I have been doing it for quite a lot longer I am feeling confident.

"Training has been going well so I am just hoping that everything goes well on the day and we can get a medal."

Medals aside however, Emery also plans on wringing every drop of experience from the first ever Winter Youth Olympics in the Austrian Tyrol.

And after a sporting career which started at centre back for the Steel City Wanderers Ladies Football Club Emery admits she is relishing the chance of swatting up on the world of winter sport.

"I am really excited about it and excited about meeting all of the British team and seeing all the other sports that will be there," she added.

"I played football for a long time so I am still learning about a lot of the other winter sports so it will be good to be out there and see them all."

Alex CHICK / Eurosport

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