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Blackburn bobsleigh star aims for GB top spot for 2014 Games
2:00pm Friday 5th March 2010 in Sport
BOBSLEIGH star Paula Walker insists she’ll be Britain’s premier track star for Sochi after finishing 11th in Vancouver at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
Walker, from Feniscowles, Blackburn, and Kelly Thomas stood 14th after the first two heats, but improved to a creditable 11th at the Winter Olympics – 3.90 seconds behind eventual winners Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyes of Canada.
Walker may have played second fiddle to fellow Brits Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke in Vancouver – but as the countdown now begins to Sochi in Russia and the 2014 Games, the 23-year-old intends to become number one at home and abroad.
“I definitely feel I’ll be British number one for Sochi,” said Walker. “I’m pretty sure that with four years work and hopefully funding that comes in that I should be on top and should be top six in the world.
“I’m not sure how UK Sport will react with funding for bobsleighing after our performances in Vancouver. Obviously Nicola Minichiello was UK Sport funded as world champion but I’m not funded at all.
“I’m hoping that with my 11th, it’s credible enough to secure some funding but UK Sport need to look at it and hopefully they’ll think that I’m worth it but we’ll see in due course.
“The home advantage made a massive difference for the Canadians in Vancouver. For Sochi, I think it will be more of an even playing-field, which will help me.” The 1450m track in Whistler was the most demanding ever constructed for a Winter Games, with a 152m vertical drop, 16 corners and a top speed of 150km/h.
But after experiencing life in the fast lane in Vancouver – Walker admits it will be tough returning to normality.
“I’m thinking there’ll be a bit of a comedown now,” added Walker. “For the next couple of weeks I’m going to be busy but when I get back to my day job in the army, getting up and putting my uniform on isn’t going to be the same as putting my GB kit on and going down a hill at 90 mph, so I think there’s going to be a bit of an anti-climax.
“It was definitely, by far, the fastest track in the world but it’s the most exciting track in the world. It’s just unfortunate that if you get something wrong it’s not as forgiving but it’s now make to normality for me.”
l Lloyds TSB, proud partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and supporter of Team GB on their journey to Vancouver 2010. Visit LloydsTSB.com/London2012
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