A Bicton College student has won bronze for Team GB at the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer. 17 year old Kelsea Purchall, who comes from Exeter, went into Saturday’s one-person bobsleigh event ranked No. 1 in the world for her age and she recorded the fastest runs in three out of the six heats in practice.
In snowy conditions in Norway, Purchall finished with a combined time of 1.57.67 from her two runs, 0.26 seconds behind Germany’s Laura Nolte who took gold, with Mercedes Schulte from Austria claiming silver.
In an interview for the Team GB website Kelsea said: “I’m amazed to win bronze and I didn’t think it was going to happen after my first run and sitting in fourth. The whole atmosphere is amazing and hopefully now I can push onto the seniors and test myself at that level.
“I get such a buzz from driving sleds. I used to play a lot of rugby but I’ve really got the bug for bobsleigh and this is what I want to do.”
Kelsea is currently studying towards an advanced apprenticeship in sporting excellence and is also a key member of Bicton College women’s rugby academy team. Rugby Coach at Bicton College, Chris Richards, played a key part in Kelsea’s success by mentoring her and putting her in contact with the Great Britain Youth.
Chris said: “I am very proud of Kelsea. She has achieved so much this year and has been a great role model for many students at Bicton College. I believe the future is very bright for Kelsea.”
Kelsea was also selected to be the Great Britain flagbearer at the closing ceremony of the Lillehammer games. Kelsea added: “I feel honoured to represent Great Britain at the Youth Olympic Games and privileged to be selected as the flagbearer.”
Kelsea, who has not been in the sport for long, has been growing from strength to strength and is still ranked number one in the world for her age category. Kelsea has been consistent throughout her races and won gold and silver in the qualifying races in Calgary.
Kelsea continued: “I am so overwhelmed with the amount of support I have received. It has been such a great experience and I have loved every moment.”