Like a scene from the movies... Yorkshire host to Brazil’s Olympic bobsleigh hopefuls

12 August 2016 .......  The Brazilian Bobsleigh team is training at Camp Hill Estate near Bedale in North Yorkshire ahead of the World Championships next month. They are being trained by former Olympic gold medalist and current world champion Nicola Minicello. Picture Tony Johnson

12 August 2016 ....... The Brazilian Bobsleigh team is training at Camp Hill Estate near Bedale in North Yorkshire ahead of the World Championships next month. They are being trained by former Olympic gold medalist and current world champion Nicola Minicello. Picture Tony Johnson

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It’s like a scene from Cool Runnings. Six determined young men, having never seen snow, setting their sights on the ultimate prize.

But it’s happening right here, in Yorkshire. The Brazilian bobsleigh team are in Bedale, training for the world championships in Romania next month. And the next step for them is the Winter Olympics.

“A lot of people don’t think Brazil will even have a bobsleigh team,” said Yorkshire’s own star, coach Nicola Minichiello, herself a world champion and three-times Olympic competitor.

“It’s almost a standing joke. But that’s part and parcel of it.

“The reality is they are incredible determined. They are focused and strong. These guys are hugely talented.”

As the eyes of the world are on their home country for the Olympics, the national team, six-strong, are training on the bobsleigh track at the Camp Hill Estate near Bedale.

It’s where coach Mrs Minichiello, from Sheffield, practiced in her own glory days. And, home to one of only two Olympic standard tracks in England, the estate is hosting the team for training - and push start practices - through the summer.

“They’ve never had the opportunity to train like this before,” said Mrs Minichiello. “Running, for them, means literally running down the street. There’s no push track in Brazil at all.

“They are very disadvantaged. It’s very impoverished. Right now, for these guys, it’s about taking the first steps.”

The team train twice a day, six days a week. Running, jumping, weightlifting. At the end of the summer, one of them will be cut.

Only five will make it ‘to ice’. And only four will make the final team.

“It’s super-competitive,” said Mrs Minichiello, adding that the country’s success at the on-going Olympics is bringing them a huge confidence boost.

“It is quite random. While everyone has gone to Brazil, they’ve left to come here. But probably, they are going to see more on the TV here than they would in Brazil.

“They can’t afford tickets.

“The legacy will bring them the belief that they can become competitors.

“They came dead last in the last race, before we started training.

“If everything goes to plan, the next step is the Winter Olympics in 18 month’s time.”

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