Kathryn Thomson relishing speed skater medal battle

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SCOTTISH short track speed skater Kathryn Thomson believes she is in the best form of her life as she sets her sights on glory at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Romania next week.

The 17-year-old from Kilmarnock, who this season has already competed for Great Britain on the senior stage at the European Championships, will be facing off with the finest skaters on the continent in Brasov.

With four events for Thomson to get her teeth into– the 500m, 1,000m, 1,500m and a relay – the opportunity is there for the former Grange Academy pupil to carve out her own piece of Olympic history.

She hasn’t had to look far for inspiration, with fellow Scottish short track speed skater Elise Christie winning double gold at the Europeans and claiming the World Cup title for the 1,000m this season.

Thomson, now based in Nottingham at the National Ice Centre, says her successful season has her brimming with confidence ahead of the competition getting under way in Romania.

“I’ve had a great time so far competing in the Star series and representing Great Britain and I have won quite a few medals,” said Thomson. “I won silver and a bronze overall in two of the events, which was a great result, and to get to go with the senior team as part of the relay at the Europeans was an amazing experience.

“Going into Romania I really hope that I can produce my best, I will be up against a lot of the same girls that I compete against in the Star series.

“This is probably the biggest event I have done in my age group and I hope I can go well. I feel good and it’s a great experience for me to have. This is my second-last event of the season, with the Star European finals still to come, so I’d love to finish in style and to get an Olympic medal would be amazing.” Thomson is part of 17-strong British team in Romania for the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival that will see over 900 athletes from 45 countries assemble to compete in eight winter sport disciplines.

Also of Scottish interest in the British squad are biathletes Sam Cairns, Robert Sircus and Lachlan Cowie. Cairns, who is from Aviemore and attends Kingussie High School, is desperate to compare himself to the cream of European talent in Brasov.

“This is going to be an incredible experience, it’s my first big event to be competing internationally and it should be a real learning curve for all of us,” he said. “I have not really set any targets for myself because I don’t really know how I compare to the rest of the field so my focus is on my own performance.”

Sircus, who like Cairns is part of the Cairngorm Biathlon and Nordic Ski Club, said: “This is a multi-sport event, something I have never experienced before and something I intend to make the most of.”