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Ready to sleigh

SQUAD: Fearon (second left) with some of his former team mates

UK SPORT have set Team GB a target of at least five medals after funding for PyeongChang was doubled compared to Sochi 2014.

There are a few new faces in the squad and while it will be a daunting prospect, all are targeting a podium performance in South Korea.

It’s a privilege for any athlete to be selected for their country but for Toby Olubi the emotion of securing his seat on the plane was even more significant.

Having missed out on being picked four years ago the 30-year-old was determined to be a part of this year’s 10-strong Team GB sliding squad.

He told the Daily Mail: “Since missing out on Sochi I’ve lived and breathed and slept bobsleigh and I’ve devoted everything I have to fulfilling my goal of becoming an Olympian.

“I believe there is no reason why we can’t push for a medal in Pyeongchang. We’ve already won a World Cup silver medal this season and set the world speed record so anything is possible.”

There will be a lot of focus on Lance Sergeant Lamin Deen formerly of the Grenadier Guards. The last time Team GB won an Olympic bobsleigh medal was in 1998 and Deen will the man charged with piloting this years men’s team.

He enthused: “I'm overwhelmed. You have to remind yourself - 'I'm going to an Olympic Games again.'

"Last time I was a little like a rabbit in the headlights and I was just very, very pleased to be there. Now, it's a race - that's what it’s about. We're racing against the same people we race against week in, week out and we've been faster than them and won medals against them this year.


READY FOR TAKE OFF: Moore

"This squad is a fantastic place to be. I've said it right from the very start of the season: everyone has helped each other and it's genuinely been a pleasure to train with this team, compete with these guys and win medals with each other."

Despite having a lot to deal with off-track, former sprinter Joel Fearon has intimated that the men’s Team GB bobsleigh team will be focused in their pursuit of medals.

Fearon said: “I’m so proud of all the guys and women – having to deal with all sorts of stuff this year and we're still here and still in medal contention,” says Fearon, one of six brakemen selected for the Pyeongchang Games to accompany pilots Deen and Brad Hall.

“It’s only made us stronger because we’ve had to pull together. We’ve had a lot of changes go on, but the athletes haven’t changed. We’ve been here and we’ll be fighting regardless.

“Not until your back is against the wall and you’re under pressure do you learn what you’re capable of. All of the guys have stepped up a notch this year. Between us athletes it’s no different. We get on, we do the job, we work together – there’s no difference for me.

“When I'm doing bobsleigh there’s me and three other guys with me who are out there to do a job. I’m happy with where we are. From the outside it looks really turbulent but for me and the athletes inside we’re just getting on with our jobs.”
Competing for the women in this years bobsleigh will be Mica Moore and Mica McNeill.

Despite having to secure their own funding through a Go-Fund me initiative that raised just over £30,000, it is an exciting time for Moore and McNeill.

Women have only officially competed in the sport since 2002 at the Salt Lake City Games. The duo suffered a heavy crash at the World Cup last year in Altenburg but rather than let that hamper their ambitions Moore is looking forward positively.

"We are fighting fit," said Moore. "It was not as bad as some other crashes I have been involved in. My mum was a little bit concerned but I gave her a call afterwards and told her I was fine."

Moore has also represented Wales in athletics, reaching the final of the 4x100m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. She won bronze over 100m at the Welsh Championships and silver in the 200m that same year, having also being Welsh Champion over 60m in 2013 and a Welsh silver medallist over 100m in 2011.

Expressing her joy at the challenge ahead Moore wrote on twitter: “Thumbs up if you’re excited for the Olympic Games to start?! I know @micamcneill and I are!!!”

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