PAULA Walker’s chances of impressing at the Bobsleigh World Championships could be over virtually before they begin due to injury.
The Great Britain number one pilot from Blackburn has been struggling with a knee injury that has hampered her starts – those explosive opening seconds that can be the difference between success or failure.
And with the World Championship contested over four runs rather than the two in the World Cup, Walker will be putting her knee under extra strain on the St Moritz course today.
So the former St Bede’s High School pupil is hoping for a safe passage through the Championships in Switzerland so she can complete the final round of the World Cup at Sochi next month, the venue for the Winter Olympics in 2014.
“I’m carrying a knee injury that is definitely impeding our start,” said the 26-year-old from Feniscowles. “My sole aim now is to try and not damage it any more and make sure I get to Sochi.”
Walker, who finished seventh in last year’s World Championship with brakeswoman Gillian Cooke, admitted the St Moritz is one of the most difficult to read.
“This track is a bit hard to gauge as it gets faster the more people go down, completely the opposite to any other track.”
With one race to go in the World Cup, the GB number one team are currently ninth in the overall rankings. Walker believes it has been a campaign of highs and low – a crash at Altenberg which robbed them off a podium place summing up their season.
“It’s been up and down,” added Walker. “We have had some solid results and I am taking our crash as a positive too. The downs are a few stray results and my injury.”
But she is hoping to end the season on a high when she finally gets to compete on the Winter Olympic course – even if it is a leap in to the unknown.
She said: “I’m so excited to get on the Sochi track. It will be the first time for the British team.
“Every race is an opportunity to show the world what you have. However, until I get to see and drive the track it’s impossible to tell whether its like any other.”