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World class challenge

British Nordic skiers Sarah Young and Callum Smith took on the best of the upcoming XC talent in the World University Winter Games in Italy

Sarah Young and coach Roger Homyer sign in on arrival in Trentino

Great Britain’s Callum Smith and Sarah Young performed well at the Trentino 2013 World University Winter Games, recording promising results in four different categories of competition.


Both students at the University of Edinburgh and members of the Senior British Cross-Country Skiing squad, Sarah Young (left) participated in three events across six days, the Women’s Skiathlon, Women’s Sprint and Women’s Individual 5km, while Callum Smith competed in the Men’s Individual 10km.

The Skiathlon, which combines classic and skate skiing, saw Young finish 59th with a time of 34:11.5, which was 04:36.8 off the gold medal winner, Tatyana Ossipova of Kazakhstan.

GBR Cross-Country Head Coach Roger Homyer described the course as “very demanding”, as the competitors had to climb a large hill six times and ski through “challenging artificial snow conditions”. Given this context, “Sarah skied well to come 59th in a good time behind a world class field.”

Young’s next event was the Women’s Sprint Classic. This saw 83 competitors set a time over 1.27 km, with the top 30 making it into the latter stages. Young posted 03:51.11, which meant 53rd place. Oxana Usatova of Russia eventually won gold in the event.

On this result Homyer said: “I feel this is a good result, 14% off the winner and with better than average sprint FIS points.”

Tuesday 17 December brought events for both GBR athletes, Young the first to go in the Women’s Individual 5km. She crossed the line with the eighth best time; after the remaining competitors had come in her final position was 65th, a time of 15:10.1 putting her 1:43.0 behind joint gold medallists Kateryna Grygorenko (Ukraine) and Astrid Slind (Norway).

Callum Smith then set off in the Men’s Individual 10km. Coming into the race in good form, he completed the course in 25:46.4, putting him in third as he finished. His eventual position was 50th, having been 1:49.0 off winner Milanko Petrovic of Serbia.

Young was pleased with her result – especially her first lap and finish – and Homyer pointed out that she had managed a new season best in terms of FIS points; Smith had also done well to finish well within the top half of a strong field.

Overall, the GBR athletes can be pleased with their international-standard performances, as well as the experience which is sure to benefit them in future competitions.


The view from the British camp was spectacular

Words by Richard Browne, Team GBR Media Officer; photos by Roger Homyer and Richard Browne

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