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Our bobsleigh heroes now tantalisingly close to finals

The hopes of Ireland's women's bobsleigh team remain high as the team have retained their position in the Winter Olympics and are within reaching distance of the final.

Aoife Hoey and Claire Bergin finished 17th in their latest running in Vancouver, which was held at 4am Irish time.

The team are now placed in 20th position and hope that they can hold on to this during tomorrow's final run to qualify for the final later on this week.

Jack McGowran, press representative for the Olympic Council said that the two women team are relaxing into the events and there has been a huge Irish support at the Games.

"They are doing very well, they did very well today," he said. "They have finished two runs and if they retain their position in 20th, they will be through to the final round.

"There was a huge amount of Irish flags at the top of the run today. There is massive support."

Aoife said that they are quietly confident that the team will make history yet again and compete in the finals.

They are already the first Irish women's bobsleigh team to have qualified for the Games.

"We are very happy with the runs so far, particularly the second run," Aoife said. "The worries have gone at this stage."

Aoife (26), the tallest female competitor at the Games, is a former national triple jump champion. Her teammate Claire Bergin (25) represented Ireland in the 400m relay at the European Indoor Championship last year.

"We're looking forward to tomorrow," Aoife told the Herald this morning. "We're quite pumped up and ready for it. The Olympic nerves seem to have gone."

Before they were allowed to compete, the pair had an anxious wait before the Court of Arbitration for Sport. There was a challenge from the Australian and Brazilian teams but CAS ruled that an additional 21st place be allocated in the competition.

President of the Olympic Council slammed the last minute moves by the other teams to gain entry.

"Why did they make it on the stage the hour before the Games?" Pat Hickey said. "That should have been done and dusted about one month ago."

"It would be outrageous if those girls were stripped of their accreditation and sent back home to Ireland," he added. "They're innocent victims in this and they should not be treated like that."

But thankfully that never came to pass and the women have been concentrating on their game.

Twelve nations are represented in the women's bobsleigh section including Germany, the United States, Britain, Canada, Russia and Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Romania, Ireland and Australia.

Ireland are now placed ahead one of the Russian teams in the table.

clairemurphy@herald.ie


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