Published today on the SSA website:
Ski and Snowboard Australia (SSA) have today announced seven Aussie skiers selected as part of the national team which will compete at the 2019 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Seefeld, Austria.
Beginning 20 February for almost two weeks the Aussie contingent has a formidable line up with a balance between seasoned veterans and fresh rising talent.
With four women and three men, Australia’s team includes four athletes who competed almost a year ago to the day at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.
This is the fifth of seven World Championships Australian athletes have competed at this season, which is a testament to the quality of snowsports across the nation.
All but one of the Cross Country athletes have qualified to race in all events, with Katerina Paul looking to make the top 10 come 20 February in order to compete in additional distance events.
SSA Cross Country Program Director Finn Marsland says that it’s difficult to know what results to expect as most of the athletes have had a break from World Cup this season, though a number of performances at the Continental Cup level in Europe and North America have been very promising.
“We have a good mix of experienced and up-and-coming athletes heading to Seefeld which is exciting for Australian Cross Country,” said Marsland.
“While some of the older skiers have had an unorthodox preparation, they are highly professional athletes and know what steps they need to take in order to perform on the day.”
“Our four Winter Olympians have been to over a dozen World Championships and raced at three Winter Olympic games between them,” he said.
The youngest athlete on the team is 20-year-old Seve de Campo, who is set to make his open level World Championship debut. Another first year senior, Liam Burton, was also initially selected to the team. Unfortunately, Burton withdrew from the team this week due to personal reasons and is returning to Australia.
Keep up to date with results and news from Seefeld and follow the Australian Cross Country Team on social media via @ausxc.
For more event specific information, visit the 2019 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships website – click here.
Barbara Jezersek (Sydney, NSWIS) – One of the senior athletes in the team at 32 years old, Jezersek represented Australia at PyeongChang in her third Olympics. Dryland training in Australia until mid-January, she has been enjoying being back on snow and had a promising return to Continental Cup racing last weekend with the rest of the team in Planica, Slovenia. After racing an almost full schedule in PyeongChang, Jezersek is targeting the 30km Freestyle at these championships.
Katerina Paul (Taggerty, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club) – Since early December the 2018 AUSXC U23 Skier of the Year has trained and raced in Europe under head coach Valerio Leccardi, based predominantly in Davos, Switzerland. At the 2019 World U23 Championships last month Paul achieved a personal best 32nd place, narrowly missing the top 30 finals by a fraction of a second.
Jessica Yeaton (Perth/Anchorage, APU) – The 27-year-old made her Winter Olympics debut at PyeongChang in 2018 and has recently had standout results on the US circuit. Yeaton will land in Austria with confidence high after multiple podium finishes at the 2019 US National Championships and US SuperTour events. To read more about her recent results, including an impressive US SuperTour gold medal – click here.
Aimee Watson (Barooga, Cooma Ski Club) – Another one of the team’s senior members, dual Olympian Aimee Watson will seek to use her experience to quickly find on-snow racing form. After an intense and successful racing period in Finland during November followed by two months of dryland training back in Australia, the 31-year old has just returned to Europe for the final preparation for Seefeld.
Phillip Bellingham (Mt Beauty, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club) – The dual Olympian knows how to handle a heavy schedule after competing in four events at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, and will look to tap into his vast cross-country experience for Seefeld. Spending the end of December and most of January coaching Australian Juniors in Canada, Bellingham is focusing solely on the individual Sprint at these championships and hopes to qualify for the World Championship top 30 final for the first time.
Seve de Campo (Canberra, ACTAS) – Training and racing solidly in Europe under Leccardi since December, including at the U23 World Championships in Finland, de Campo is coming into form at the right time following season-best results at the Planica Continental Cup last weekend. Having made a steady progression through the junior ranks in recent years, de Campo will be eager to make his World Championship debut on 21 February.
Mark Pollock (Lavington, Wangaratta Ski Club) – Four years on from his first World Championships, Pollock will head into the 2019 event with three months of European training and racing. Potentially racing four events in Seefeld, the 26-year-old will be looking to continue his recent form coming off a 12th place in the Swiss Cup in Sparenmoos and solid Continental Cup results in Slovenia.
Valero Leccardi – Team Leader, Coach
Randy Gibbs – Head Wax Technician
Paul Moore – Wax Technician
Fabian Mauz – Wax Technician
Ben Bond – Physiotherapist
|Date||Gender||Event||Athletes (preliminary section)|
|20 February||W||5km Classic Qualification||Paul|
|21 February||W||Freestyle Sprint||Yeaton, Watson, Paul, Jezersek|
|21 February||M||Freestyle Sprint||Bellingham, Pollock, de Campo|
|23 February||W||15km Skiathlon||Yeaton|
|23 February||M||30km Skiathlon||Pollock, de Campo|
|24 February||W||Team Sprint Classic||Yeaton, Jezersek|
|24 February||M||Team Sprint Classic||Pollock, de Campo|
|26 February||W||10km Classic||Yeaton|
|27 February||M||15km Classic||Pollock, de Campo|
|2 March||W||30km Freestyle Mass Start||Yeaton, Jezersek|
|3 March||M||50km Freestyle Mass Start||TBC|