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GB snowboard call-up for Kilner
Friday, 16 September 2005




Scottish teenager Ben Kilner could be one of the youngest competitors at next year's Winter Olympics.

The 17-year-old from Aberdeenshire has been selected for the British Snowboard Team for the World Cup season.

He has already finished 25th in a World Cup half-pipe in Chile and needs another top 25 result to satisfy British Olympic Association criteria.

Snowsport GB's Jacqui Kirkaldy told BBC Sport: "Ben has taken a big step up and his first World Cup result is great."

Kilner is among a seven-strong squad announced by Snowsport GB which also includes Lesley McKenna, James and Kate Foster, Dom Harington, Dan Wakeham and Zoe Gillings.

McKenna, who competed at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002, has already achieved Olympic qualification but is recovering from a broken ankle at the moment.

She is hoping to be back snow-training in Saas Fee in Switzerland by the end of the month.

Gillings, who competes in snowboardercross, has also achieved Olympic qualification and is a genuine medal hope in Turn in February after winning a World Cup race last season.

Kircaldy said: "All of the snowboard team have a great chance of qualifying for next year's Olympics if they perform at the levels they have been."

McKenna and Gillings are given funding by UK Sport but the other snowboarders rely on sponsorship and family to pay their way.

Snowboarding is continuing its popularity rise in the UK and this is partly due to the Orange AIM Series which holds competitions on dry and indoor slopes.

All the of the World Cup team have competed in the AIM Series and the Orange British Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding Championships.

Kircaldy added: "Although the AIM Series is more the commercial side of the sport it has been good for us because boarders have competed in AIM Series events and then got the appetite to make the crossover to International Ski Federation events."

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