York & North Yorkshire

Brazilian bobsleigh team trains in Yorkshire

Bobsleigh team
Image caption Bedale is one of two Olympic-standard bobsleigh facilities in England

The Brazilian bobsleigh team is training at a track in North Yorkshire as the rest of the world watches the Olympics in its home country.

The six-strong team is based at the Camp Hill Estate, near Bedale, preparing for the world championships.

It is being coached by Nicola Minichiello, a world bobsleigh champion from Sheffield who competed in three Winter Olympics.

Bedale is one of two Olympic-standard dry bobsleigh facilities in England.

Mrs Minichiello said, on a physical level, the Brazilian team is world class.

"Last year they competed in the world championships for the first time, and they were a tenth of a second behind the fastest starters in the world," she said.

"We know with bobsleigh that the start is a huge part of it. They do have to keep learning, they do have to improve their equipment."

Image caption Sheffield coach Nicola Minichiello said the team is always smiling during training

She added: "They don't have a multi-million pound programme, so there are areas where they will struggle to compete against the rest of the world, but physically they are one of the best teams in the world.

"Every day is an adventure with these guys. They are always smiling, they have a good feeling about them."

Mrs Minichiello trained at the Camp Hill estate in Bedale herself.

Brazil does not have any bobsleigh training facilities, which is why the team is in North Yorkshire.

Mrs Minichiello compared the team to the one in the 1990s' American film Cool Runnings, based on the story of the Jamaican national bobsleigh team's debut in competition at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

"It's not actually about sport, sport is a part of it, but it's actually about life," she said.

"It's about showing them - and probably the other Brazilian young people that aspire to be them - that if you work hard, anything is possible.

"I don't like to compare it to Cool Runnings but it really is. It's about the underdog really being able to achieve and make the changes they need to to be able to compete."

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