Snow Queen’s Olympic hopes after World Championship biathlete performance

Amanda Lightfoot at the last Winter Olympics.
Amanda Lightfoot at the last Winter Olympics.

A South Tyneside winter sports star has recorded her best ever result in a world championships - and taken another step towards a Winter Olympics place.

Biathlete Amanda Lightfoot came 32nd place in the International Biathlon Union’s World Championship 15k individual race which was held in Hochfilzen, Austria, this week.

Despite recently suffering from shingles, the athlete gave one of her best performances to date in the sport which is a mixture of cross country skiing and shooting.

After the race, Amanda took to Twitter to share her good news and aims for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

She Tweeted: “32nd place today, World Cup points and one big massive step forward to the Olympic.

“Super happy and proud all the hard work paid off.”

The 29-year-old from South Shields joined the army’s Adjutant General Corps as a clerk at the age of 16 and decided to give the sport a try while she was serving in Iraq.

Since then she has been on full-time release from the Army in a bid to pursue her sporting dream.

Amanda competed in two races in the 2014 Winter Olympics which were held in Sochi, Russia.

During the games, Amanda finished 75th in a 7.5km sprint with a time of 24 minutes and 48.9 seconds. That was followed by a 71st-place finish during the 15km women’s individual event.

The next Winter Olympics will take place from February 9 to 25 2018, in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

However, funding is a big issue for Amanda and her fellow British competitors. In 2015 the British Biathlon Union lost one of its main sponsors.

Amanda told the Gazette at the time: “We need financial support because otherwise it is just a matter of time till we have to stop competing. I am asking everyone who reads this if they can offer us any kind of sponsorship to get in touch. We are a small biathlon nation and have to stay humble. Yet, this doesn’t mean that we can’t aim for more.”