Training begins for Winter Olympians
Thu, 18 Oct 2012 6:49p.m.
By Krissy Moreau
A recent dump at Wanaka's Cardrona ski fields has made for perfect ground conditions for New Zealand's Winter Olympian spring training camp.
It's the last time the team will be on home turf this year before heading to the northern hemisphere as they continue to work towards the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
Beau-James Wells is is the youngest member of the squad and is training for the free ski slope style and half pipe qualifiers, two events new to the Olympics.
“It's pretty scary, I'm only 16 so it's all new experiences for me,” says Wells.
And with an older brother like Jossi Wells, one of the top free skiers in the world, he's using the added pressure to train even harder.
“I can't wait, I can't wait to beat my brothers, if I do,” he says.
He's just one of the Olympic hopefuls at this year’s spring training camp at Cardrona, and he is practising with athletes from around the world - some already at the top of their game.
“If you want to be the best in the world you need the best in the world around to see what they're doing, set your sights on the things that they're achieving,” says coach Tom Willmott.
“We need to be able to work with other countries so we can get our guys on snow 10, 11 months of the year rather than just the four to five they'd get at home,” says Marty Toomey of Snow Sports New Zealand.
Ranked with the best is 21-year-old Wanaka local Rebecca Sinclair. Part of the 2010 Winter Olympic team, Sinclair came fourth at the recent snowboard halfpipe world champs.
She's got her sights on Sochi.
“I have a few more tricks up my sleeve that I want to learn, and hopefully with the run that I will have the tricks that I have in my run will be right up there with the world's best, [I've] just got to lay them down on the day,” she says.
Coach Willmott is confident the Olympic team hopefuls are well on their way to qualifying.
“Christie Pryor has had some excellent results this domestic season,” he says. [We have a] very strong women’s slope style snowboard team. Janine Akuzma placed forth in the women’s free ski so she's well on her way to qualify for Sochi.”
And with an abundance of snow the team is hoping to extend spring camp into next week.
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