Henry Nwume is a man who knows what it takes to change sports midway through a career, and the former British Olympian insists Craig Pickering has taken to bobsleigh like a duck to water.
An Oxford Blue at rugby who was on the books of London Wasps, Nwume made the switch to the winter sport and was part of the four-man bob that finished 17th at the Vancouver Olympics.
And this season Nwume has been joined in the Team GB set-up by sprinters Pickering, a world bronze medallist, and Joel Fearon. Pickering was part of the two-man team this season as the brakeman finished an impressive 19th at his first ever world championships in January.
And with Pickering now having turned his back on the track to focus on the ice, Nwume is confident that the 26-year-old will continue to improve in the run-up to Sochi 2014.
“It is interesting sometimes because I watch some of the sprint guys come over from track and field which is purely an individual sport so you see how their character changes in a team sport,” said Nwume, speaking at a ‘nearest and dearest’ programme in Nottingham, specifically designed to support the friends and families of Team GB in the run up to and during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
“They all have done and I honestly think the bobsleigh is a very positive education on them. Joel and Craig are both incredible.
“They both bring an x-factor the squad. Competition is going to be incredibly tough for places but I think they are really enjoying their bobsleigh careers and they will go on to be better for it.
“They both add a lot to the squad and have really brought into the team aspect of it and the squad is certainly stronger for their input for sure.”
With the countdown to Sochi 2014 heating up, Nwume knows he faces a real competition for spot in the British team. But the recent announcement that driver John Jackson has ruptured an Achilles and will be out of action until November has rocked the squad, although Nwume insists the strength in depth has never been stronger.
“I have been involved in sport for a very long time and I know that unexpected things can happen at any time, such as with what happened to Jacko,” he added.
“But I know we have a very talented squad, a very hard working squad and that we have fantastic coaches and support.
“GB bobsleigh going into these Olympics is in as good a shape as it has been in a very long time.”
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