WORLD champion Shelley Rudman believes her first global title will allow her the luxury of focussing solely on winning Olympic gold.
Rudman, 31, claimed the world title in emphatic fashion earlier this month, the triumph boosting her Lottery funding for the next year and giving her access to the top coaching, medical and training help on offer, usually worth around £55,000 a year.
The Pewsey slider can also apply for help with living costs, easing the pressure as she plots her route to Olympic glory in Sochi.
The 2006 Olympic silver medallist, who will contest the final round of this season’s World Cup at the 2014 Games venue tomorrow (Friday), has been forced to do work away from the ice to help her career, as well as receiving sponsorship and help from supporters in her home village in the past.
She said: “It (world championship victory) was a blessing because I have not only secured my funding heading into the Olympic season, but secured the top level of funding by winning the race.
“This will relieve the pressures heading into next season greatly.
“It means I can now solely concentrate on training full-time heading into the Olympic year, whereas last year I had to take on some consultancy work to help fund this season.’’ Rudman says her decision to take a break from training paid dividends as she scooped gold at St Moritz.
The Wiltshire woman was laid low by a chest infection and flu over Christmas and was off the pace in three subsequent World Cup meetings She added: “I decided to stay in Europe as there was a ten-day break before the World Championships and have total rest and recovery. Thankfully that strategy worked.’’