THE Sochi Winter Olympics might only just have finished, but Consett’s Mica McNeill will set her sights on the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang when she competes in the British Bobsleigh Championships this weekend.
McNeill, who narrowly missed out on a place in the two-women bob event in Sochi despite being ranked number two in the British rankings and number 20 in the world, is currently in her third competitive season in the sport.
She has spent the last week in the Austrian resort of Igls preparing for the British Championships, which will mark the end of a hectic winter season that has seen the 20-year-old post impressive performances in Europe and North America.
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McNeill, who is a former student at Durham High School for Girls, has experience of the Igls track as she won silver with brakewoman Jazmin Sawyers on the same course in the 2011-12 Youth Winter Olympics. She also won a bronze medal in the 2012-13 Junior World Championships, which were also held at Igls.
Last month, it looked like she would have to give up her place in Austria after funds pledged for her travel, accommodation and competition fees fell through. However, Aspers Casino in Newcastle stepped in with a £2,000 grant that enabled her to compete.
“Aspers’ support has meant I have been able to concentrate on competing at the British Championships,” said McNeill, who receives only minimal external funding. “As an athlete, it’s fantastic to have such a company recognise my talents and to want to work with me to achieve my ambitions.
“I am very excited at the opportunities they are able to offer me and looking forward to working with them over the coming months.”