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Skiing into action in Sapporo

18 February 2017

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: Casey Wright and Jackson Bursill are in Sapporo preparing to represent Australia at the Asian Winter Games.

After two training sessions on the competition track the young skiers like what they see.

22-year-old Wright is feeling good after strong performances at the World Junior/Under 23 Championships but this event takes her competition experience to a whole new level.

“This is amazing, this is the most organised and biggest event I think I’ve ever been to,” Wright said.

“I’m blow away by the experience of being here in Japan and the culture difference, I’m loving it.

“I’m racing against people I’ve never raced against before so it’s a bit of an unknown field for me. I’m really looking forward to it and seeing what could happen.”

Wright is a student of the University of Alaska (Anchorage) and is a member of the school's ski team.

“I love it, it’s my home away from home,” she said.

“When I think of Alaska I think of home, but I definitely miss Australia. I miss the familiarity of everything.”

Rather than return to Australia for the southern hemisphere winter, Wright chose to continue her training in a more temperate climate.  

“I think it’s really helped me set up for this season and having the performances that I’m having.

“We don’t necessarily need to be on snow to train, so we do a lot of roller skiing, running and riding.

“The majority of my summer was spent roller skiing and running in the mountains. It’s really nice to be doing things other than skiing the entire year.”

While Wright is in the thick of the competition season, Jackson Bursill has taken time out from the snow.

“I took December and January off to train in Australia. I did a couple of big bike rides, it was about finding my passion again after seven years of travelling the world cup circuit and competing at world championships.

“I found I had reached a point where I wasn’t making the next step so I decided to try something different, so I trained in the heat, did a lot of running and a lot of other things to get my head in a good space.”

“Now I’m back here, adapting and getting back onto the skis again.

Bursill has been training on roller skis and his first days in Sapporo have been spent adjusting to the snow.

“It isn’t too hard to transition back to the skis from the roller skis but there are a few things you need to work on.

“When you’re on the roller skis you’re on pavement so you tend to sit back a little bit when you’re doing the double poling technique because you don’t want to fall on the pavement but when you’re on the snow you can afford to get forward because if you fall its only snow.”

The Asian Winter Games Cross Country Skiing competition commences with the 1.4km men’s and women’s sprint on Monday 20 February. 

Michelle Cook

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