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Page last updated at 12:32 GMT, Monday, 7 February 2011

Paula Walker wins world junior bobsleigh title

Walker and Wilson on their way to gold at Park City
Walker and Wilson on their way to gold at Park City

By Anna Thompson

Briton Paula Walker has been crowned junior world bobsleigh champion.

Together with brakeman Rebekah Wilson, Walker finished more than half a second ahead of a strong field at the Park City track in Utah, United States.

The 24-year-old has had a good first season at World Cup level and will compete in the World Championships in Koenigssee in Germany on 18 February.

Gary Anderson of British Bobsleigh said: "It was an emphatic victory and shows the potential we have."

Anderson, the team's performance director, added: "We have exceeded our performance targets in year one of this Olympic cycle.

"That means we now re-evaluate and set our targets even higher.

"I am delighted for Paula and Rebekah. They know now that these standards must continue and have proved they are capable.

Competitive partners Jackson and Walker
Competitive partners Jackson and Walker

"This was a very strong championships with a number of crews who have achieved top six places on the senior World Cup tour. "

Walker moved up to be Britain's number one driver this season with Nicola Minichiello, the reigning world champion, out following leg surgery although the 32-year-old is close to making her return to the ice.

Walker has recorded top 10 finishes in all her World Cup races and has been backed by UK Sport up until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia .

Paula Walker, who is a corporal in the Royal Signals, nearly pulled out of the competition because her dad was in hospital.

"I'm ecstatic with this result. We have been aiming for this competition since the summer and to finally see the union flag rise as number one is brilliant.

"This has always been a dream of mine and I couldn't have done it without my coach Pete Gunn, Gary Anderson and the rest of British Bobsleigh who made this all possible."

Walker's partner John Jackson, lead driver of the men's team, won a European Cup race in St Moritz - the first British man to do so - and is training ahead of the World Championships.

Jackson, a Royal Marine commando, was set to miss out on the championships to serve in Afghanistan but a change of role has left him able to compete.

He told BBC Sport: " I am no longer going to Afghanistan because of a last minute change of job which has allowed me to carry on competing for Great Britain.

"As a Royal Marine, we are trained to deal with any challenge that is placed before us.

"I am looking forward to the challenge of competing against the best in world to get the best result possible."

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see also
Walker to drive British bobsleigh
16 Aug 10 |  Winter Sports
From bobsleighing to Afghanistan
09 Nov 10 |  Winter Sports

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