Team GB have been at the heart of the action throughout the first two days of competition at the Friuli Venezia Giulia 2023 Winter European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF).
The delegation made their way to the mountains after Saturday night’s Opening Ceremony at Trieste’s Piazza Unita d’Italia, where snowboarder Charlie Lane and figure skater Arabella Sear-Watkins carried the union flag.
Day one saw Team GB represented in freestyle snowboard, freestyle skiing and short-track speed skating.
Fifteen-year-old freestyle snowboarder Amber Fennell eclipsed the competition in the qualifying rounds of the girls’ big air competition, securing her spot in the final later in the week after her total of 80 points placed her top of the table.
Fennell said: “We came here just to try and get through so coming out with first place for qualification, I was over the moon. It’s just a waiting game now for the finals, and for that it’s a good experience just to be in it.
I’m ready for it though, I think I can do it all again. It’s been such a good experience already, I’ve met so many new people, and all the countries coming together at the Opening Ceremony to celebrate so many different sports was something really amazing.”
Over in the boys’ freestyle snowboard competition, Charlie Lane and Teiva Haimani each battled it out in the big air qualifiers, securing their spots in the final later this week with total scores of 69.3 and 60.0 respectively.
Team GB’s sole freestyle skier Bailey Webster lined up for the boys’ big air qualifiers but missed out on a spot in the final.
Short-track speed skater Willem Murray flew through to the semi-finals in the boys’ 1500m after knocking three seconds off his personal best in the quarters but missed out on a spot in the final. Teammate Joseph Armstrong was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the same event.
Murray said: “I’m really happy with today’s performance. Going into the qualifier I knew there were a lot of fast skaters, so I really tried to relax into the race as it went on and stay with them as much as possible.
Hopefully in the next few days there will be more opportunities for PBs – I feel amazing when I’m skating at the moment.”
Both Murray and Armstrong lined up again on day two to compete in the boys’ 500m, with each claiming a new PB. Armstrong missed out on a spot in the quarters after finishing fourth in his heat, with Murray knocked out before he could reach the semis.
Day two also saw alpine snowboarder Sam Carpenter take on the qualifiers in the boys’ parallel giant slalom, with a tenth-place finish securing his spot in the next round.
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