|With just under a year to go until the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games the British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced the athletes selected to represent Team GB at the 11th European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOWF) in BraÅŸov, Romania, between 17th-22nd February.
The 2013 EYOWF will see over 900 athletes from 45 European countries assemble to compete in eight winter sport disciplines. Team GB will consist of 17 athletes from the six winter sport disciplines of alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, figure skating, short track speed skating and snowboard. Previous contestants and medallists include one of Britainâ€™s best alpine skiers: Chemmy Alcott. Alcott won a silver medal for Team GB in Poprad-Tatry in 1999.
For most of Team GBâ€™s competitors, aged between 14 and 18, this will be their first experience of a multi-sport environment and their first taste of Olympic competition.
Short track speed skaters Jack Burrows and Aydin Djemal along with cross country skier Sarah Hale all competed for Team GB at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck last year. Burrows and Djemal won two of Team GBâ€™s three medals in Innsbruck winning gold and silver respectively in the mixed nations relay.
The 17 athletes will be joined in BraÅŸov by Team GB 2014 Ambassador Amy Williams. 2010 Olympic skeleton gold medallist Williams will be on hand throughout the entire festival toÂ mentor the young athletes.
Vancouver 2010 Olympic skeleton gold medallist Williams said:
â€œI am thrilled to be accompanying such a talented group of dedicated young athletes in their participation at the 2013 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOWF).
â€œThe EYOWF is a fantastic opportunity for young athletes to experience high-level competition against some of Europeâ€™s leading winter sport nations.
â€œImportantly, it is also more than just sporting competition. The EYOWF provides athletes with an excellent opportunity to participate in a multi-sport event, and experience living and competing with over 900 competitors from across Europe.â€
Darcie Mead (Kingston-upon-Thames) alpine skiing said:
â€œI am really excited about being selected for Team GB for the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in BraÅŸov. Weâ€™ve just finished our pre-race preparation in Switzerland and I am feeling in the best form of my career and am looking forward to competing against Europeâ€™s best. It is a once in a life time opportunity and I hope that I perform well and make the most of it!â€
Robert Sircus (Kingussie) biathlon said:
â€œRepresenting your country is a huge honour. I am really excited about the competition as well as meeting other GB athletes and other nations. I am sure the experience will help me gain a great deal of experience both on and off the snow and it will bring me one step closer to my ambition of competing at the Olympic Winter Games.â€
Sarah Hale (Falun)Â cross-country said:
â€œI competed for Team GB at the Innsbruck Youth Olympic Games last year and am thrilled to have been selected to compete for Team GB again at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival. My training has been going well, and I hope that I can ski to the best of my ability and enjoy the experience in BraÅŸov.â€
Graham Newberry (Newberry)Â figure skating said:
â€œI feel very honoured to be selected to represent Team GB. Competing at a multi-sport event will give me experience that I hope to use during the rest of my sporting career. It’s a very special feeling to continue a family tradition of figure skating for Great Britain, following in my dad’s and brother’s footsteps.”
Jack Burrows (Nottingham) short track said:
â€œI am excited to have the opportunity to compete for Team GB again, the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck last year was an amazing experience, especially winning gold in the mixed nations relay. I have been working hard on my preparations and have been inspired by the amazing performances of the senior team. In the races I will be competitive with the aspiration of achieving a personal best that will challenge the top European skaters.â€
Maisie Potter (Bangor) snowboard said:
â€œI am very excited and proud to have been selected to represent Team GB for the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in BraÅŸov. It is my dream to compete for Team GB at an Olympic Winter Games and this brings me one step closer.â€