Bri­tain are given the go-ahead to use new skin­suits

Western Mail - - SPORT - Matt McGee­han PA Sport sport@waleson­

GREAT Bri­tain’s skin­suits have been given of­fi­cial ap­proval on the eve of the Win­ter Olympics skele­ton com­pe­ti­tion af­ter their le­gal­ity was ques­tioned by ri­vals.

Sochi 2014 gold medal­list Lizzy Yarnold and team-mate Laura Deas, from Wrex­ham, demon­strated their medal po­ten­tial in train­ing at the Olympic Slid­ing Cen­tre in Pyeongchang as un­der­whelm­ing World Cup sea­sons were for­got­ten.

Ri­val com­peti­tors have raised ob­jec­tions to Bri­tain’s in­no­va­tive equip­ment, though, in par­tic­u­lar the skin­suit tech­nol­ogy which has been pre­vi­ously used by British Cy­cling.

How­ever, a state­ment from the In­ter­na­tional Bob­sleigh and Skele­ton Fed­er­a­tion said: “The IBSF cur­rently checked race suits of the British skele­ton team. There were no rule vi­o­la­tions at the pre­sented suits.”

The is­sue was raised at the IBSF cap­tains’ meet­ing evening, prior to the two-day men’s com­pe­ti­tion be­gin­ning to­day. The women’s event starts a day later and con­cludes on Satur­day.

A for­mer world cham­pion sug­gested Bri­tain flout the rules at Olympics, but Team GB in­sisted it abided by all reg­u­la­tions.

United States’ Katie Uh­laen­der, the 2012 world cham­pion, said: “A lot of ath­letes and coaches have ques­tioned about whether the suit was le­gal.

“I think this has been a ques­tion posed of Great Bri­tain in the last two Olympics, start­ing in 2010 with Amy Wil­liams and her hel­met and suit.”

A Team GB spokesper­son said: “We are con­fi­dent that all com­pe­ti­tion equip­ment meets the tech­ni­cal and com­mer­cial re­quire­ments for ev­ery sport and dis­ci­pline. We do not com­ment on spe­cific tech­ni­cal as­pects of equip­ment prior to com­pe­ti­tion.”

Uh­laen­der re­ferred to the hel­met Wil­liams used in Van­cou­ver, which was sub­ject of an un­suc­cess­ful protest af­ter the com­pe­ti­tion had con­cluded.

The Amer­i­can, who could be pro­moted to Sochi 2014 bronze be­hind Yarnold af­ter the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of Rus­sia’s Elena Nik­itina, ad­mit­ted ques­tion­ing ri­vals’ equip­ment was a nec­es­sary part of prepa­ra­tions.

Yarnold and Deas are find­ing form at the right time. From six runs and three days of train­ing, Deas has fin­ished first twice and Yarnold once.

Bri­tain have won skele­ton medals at the last four Olympics and Deas is con­vinced she can add to the hon­ours board.

“We’ve done it be­fore and it just adds to the be­lief that we can do it again,” she said.

> Wrex­ham’s Laura Deas in ac­tion dur­ing the women’s skele­ton prac­tice ses­sion wear­ing the con­tro­ver­sial GB skin­suit

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