BOBSLEIGH: Anna pushes on to a future on the ice

This Is Wiltshire: Anna Alexander-Holmes Anna Alexander-Holmes

FORMER St Laurence School pupil Anna Alexander Holmes could be on the fast track towards a future Winter Olympics appearance – thanks to some prompting from her mum.

The former heptathlete, who turns 19 this month, will join a 12-strong squad for a training camp in Austria early in the new year as part of British Bobsleigh’s Futures programme.

The former Millfield sixth-former came through an assessment last month and was selected for six days of ice training in Igls from January 1 before moving on to the British Championships.

The Futures programme was started by British Bobsleigh to offer youngsters the chance to be considered as potential Olympians for British crews and for Anna, it represents a second chance at a sporting career after her athletics progress was ravaged by injury.

“I did the heptathlon and competed up to county and national level, but I kept getting injured,’’ she told the Wiltshire Times.

“I had really bad bone stress and was out injured for about two years.

“It was my mum (Julie, who lives in Monkton Combe) who encouraged me to keep my speed up and then said I should give the bobsleigh a try, but it worked really well for me.’’

More than a year on – while studying sports performance at the University of Bath – she finds herself heading for her debut on ice, after an assessment that included a 30m sprint test from a standing start, a standing jump into a sandpit and a push-track test.

“It’s my (ice) debut and I’m so excited,’’ added Anna, who is supported by the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), a government initiative which supports young student athletes and has assisted the likes of Wiltshire’s skeleton world champion Shelley Rudman and 2012 rowing gold medallist Helen Glover in the past.

“It’s so special to be able to go over to Austria in an Olympic year.

“We see the top British bobsleighers (number one men’s and women’s drivers John Jackson and Paula Walker live in Trowbridge) a bit and there is a lot more exposure for bobsleigh now.

“I’ve been doing it for about a year now and it’s nice to make a bit of a mark.’’

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