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World champion Minichiello to undergo eye operation

Cooke and Minichiello won gold at Lake Placid in New York
Minichiello (right) did not even tell partner Cooke about her eye problem

World bobsleigh champion Nicola Minichiello will undergo eye surgery on Friday after suffering loss of vision during a competition in Italy.

Minichiello and partner Gillian Cooke are among Britain's best medal hopes at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

"We were out in Italy racing and on day two of training things got blurry in my left eye," she told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"By the time we got to the race I'd lost 80% vision - I didn't tell Gill, I thought it was best she didn't know."

Minichiello and Cooke managed to compete in the World Cup race and finish eighth, but afterwards she was advised to return home to Sheffield for treatment.

606: DEBATE

"The medical team have been fantastic and it's something that will be a simple fix - by Saturday morning I should be 20-20 again," she said.

Minichiello's enforced lay-off means the pair have missed two World Cup events, but she said this was actually working in her favour.

"Coming back and missing two races has been challenging, but with the big focus being (the Olympics in) February, it's been great for my physical training," she said.

"I've been able to get some real hard work done, and I'll be doing the same over Christmas, then we'll be back out on the ice in January to make sure we're fresh and ready to rock."

Her event in the Winter Olympics is not until 23 and 24 February at Whistler Sliding Centre.

At Lake Placid in February this year, Minichiello and Cooke became Britain's first ever female bobsleigh world champions, and the first Britons since Robin Dixon and Anthony Nash triumphed in the World Championships back in 1965.

This season they have finished in the top 10 in every race but have yet to make it on to the podium.



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see also
Medal hope to undergo eye surgery
11 Dec 09 |  Vancouver 2010
Brit bobsleighers win World gold
22 Feb 09 |  Winter Sports
Britain's bobsleigh ice queens
02 Mar 09 |  Winter Sports


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