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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2006, 11:15 GMT
Skiers and boarders Turin bound
By Alistair Magowan

Dan Wakeham
Wakeham secured his entry with a fifth place in Switzerland
Dan Wakeham will become the first British male snowboarder to compete in the Winter Olympics.

The 24-year-old from Plymouth clinched his place in Team GB at the final World Cup event before the Games begin.

He told BBC Sport: "I'm stoked. A lot of hard work has gone into this and it's taking a while to sink in."

He joins Lesley McKenna, Kate Foster and Zoe Gillings in the snowboard squad while there will also be six skiers.

Alain Baxter will be aiming to erase the memory of Salt Lake City when he had his bronze slalom medal taken away from him for failing a drugs test.

He is joined by half-brother Noel, Finlay Mickel, James Leuzinger and Roger Cruickshank, who has qualified after battling back from suffering a career-threatening broken leg a year ago.

Chemmy Alcott is the lone female ski representative and is set to compete in the super-G, downhill, combined and slalom.

The trio of Wakeham, McKenna and Foster will all compete in the half-pipe discipline, while Gillings takes part in the snowboard cross event.

McKenna, 31, was the sole representative in the 2002 Winter Games, but since then Britain has created a snowboarding team under the tutelage of Canadian coach Craig Smith.

I've grown up watching the Olympics on TV but being there yourself with all the crowds will be amazing
Kate Foster

Wakeham secured his place in Team GB after recording Britain's best ever male snowboarding result when he finished fifth in the World Cup half-pipe in Leysin, Switzerland, last weekend.

He said: "It's good news for British snowboarding. We've only had a snowboard team for three years and before that there wasn't any coaching available.

"It's still new that we've got an Olympic team and it's really good that we've got this far."

Foster is delighted to be going to the Winter Olympics after only two competitive seasons in the sport.

The 20-year-old, whose brother is also a member of the World Cup team said: "It hasn't really sunk in yet. This is my first full season of doing World Cup events so it's all come really fast.

"I'm looking forward to it so much. I've grown up watching the Olympics on TV but being there yourself with all the crowds will be amazing.

"My mum started crying when I told her on the phone."

Gillings, also 20, secured her place in the team early in 2005 after a series of results which catapulted her to third in the world.

But her battle to make Team GB has been hampered by a broken foot and she has only recently returned to the racing scene.

Team GB will not have any representatives in Turin in freestyle skiing or ski jumping.

Rollercoaster ride
11 Jan 06 |  Winter Olympics


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