Winter Olympics - Kilner hopes to upset favourites

Eurosport - Wed, 27 Jan 12:53:00 2010

British Olympic snowboarding hopeful Ben Kilner is ready to stick it to the favourites in their own back yard next month.

Great Britain snowboarder Ben Kilner - 0

Half-pipe specialist Kilner is part of a four-strong snowboarding team selected for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver by the British Olympic Association today.

Zoe Gillings, who competes in the snowboard cross event, is considered one of Britain's best podium chances, after UK Sport set a three medal target for the Canadian-bound team.

But 22-year old Kilner, who earned his first career World Cup top ten in Valmalenco last year, has set his sights slightly lower.

And after news of financial worries at SnowsportGB, snowboarding's UK governing body, he can't wait to focus on his first Games.

"Snowboarding is obviously massive in Canada, so it should be a great competition to be involved in, and it will feel particularly special to be out there with a Union Flag on my back," he said.

"I've always wanted to represent my country at an Olympic Winter Games, so getting selected for Team GB really does feel like one of the greatest achievements of my career."

While Kilner prepares for his first Olympics, 35-year old Scot - and fellow half-pipe specialist - Lesley McKenna has been selected to appear in her third.

McKenna, a double World Cup winner seven seasons ago, was considered a genuine medal chance in Salt Lake City and Turin but disappointed in both events.

Gillings is readying herself for her second Olympics but admits her preparations for Vancouver could have gone better.

Ranked sixth in the world last year, the Isle of Man snowboarder has endured some mixed results this season with a sixth place finish at the World Cup event in Bad Gastein this month her best performance.

"I've been thinking of Vancouver ever since the closing ceremony in 2006, and I'm really hopeful of making my country proud. My ambition is to come back with a medal," she said.

"I'm even more excited about going to these Olympics than I was about going to Turin.

"As an athlete who normally competes on her own, there's something fantastic about pulling on team kit and joining up with your team-mates, and I can't wait for the opening ceremony. I think it's going to be awesome."

Elsewhere, Adam McLeish has been selected in the snowboarding parallel giant slalom.

More Than The Games / Eurosport

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