The Australian Team for the 2018 World Junior U23 Championships has just been confirmed. Five athletes have been selected to compete in the events which take place in Goms, Switzerland from January 28 to February 3.
The sole U23 competitor is Katerina Paul, who is competing at the U23 Championship for the second year in a row. Paul won the 5km Classic and was runner-up for both Classic and Freestyle Sprints in the 2017 Australian Open Championship, and is targeting the Freestyle Sprint and 10km Classic events in Goms.
Katerina Paul: “I have recovered from a few colds over the season and I’m finding my speed come back just in time for the first race! I’m excited to take it part in my 2nd U23 World Championships, it’s always a lot of fun to ski against people you’ve been skiing with since the beginning of our “junior worlds” years.”
Seve de Campo and Liam Burton will be both competing in their second World Juniors and have made big breakthroughs this season. De Campo won all events in the 2017 Australian Junior Championship, and met the World Cup qualification standard in November. Burton, who represented Australia at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games and spent most of 2017 living and training in Norway, made his World Cup debut in December. Both 19-year-olds are qualified to start all events in Goms.
Seve de Campo: “2017 was a really positive year, I can’t wait to let all the hard work prove itself in Goms next week!”
Australia is also set to start a Junior Men’s 4 x 5km Relay for the second year in a row, with Jarrah Forrer and Nic Blackwell joining Burton and de Campo to complete the team. This will be Forrer’s second World Juniors, while Blackwell will make his debut at this level of competition. The team will be supported in Goms by coach Rob Jones, manager Imogen Blanch, and assistant coach Miles Havlick.
Other Australian Junior Team members Emily Champion, Maysen Duffy and Phoebe Cridland, as well as invited Junior Tour skiers Will Middlemiss and Tom Hoogenraad, headed back to Australia this week after a 5-week training block that concluded with the Austrian Championships in Seefeld on the weekend. All three junior women are still just 16 years old, and have three more years of eligibility for the U20 Junior Worlds.
The Australian Team moves from their pre-camp in Seefeld (site of the 2019 World Championship) to Goms on Thursday, with the Junior/U23 Championship kicking off with the Junior Sprint on Sunday January 28.
Australian Team for 2018 World Junior/U23 World Championship
L-R: Katerina Paul, Jarrah Forrer, Seve de Campo, Nic Blackwell, Liam Burton