Ben Cavet: Teenage mogul skier takes French nationality

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Cavet eyes mogul skiing career

Sussex mogul skier Ben Cavet has become a French citizen in order to chase his dream of Olympic glory.

Cavet, who moved to France at the age of 10, is unable to gain funding from UK Sport for his chosen event.

The 18-year-old told BBC South East Today: "I've always felt French whilst skiing as I've been in a French club and with French coaches.

"It just seemed very natural for me to move up through the rankings in the French team."

Cavet, who was born in Maidstone and is from Crowborough, finished second in the junior world championships last year.

In 2012, he has won the French senior championship and secured a 15th-place finish at a World Cup event.

"It [nationality] was never a problem until I started competing in international competitions," he added.

"I had to get a French licence to ski for the French team, which was quite a long process.

"I want to do this for a career. Moguls skiing is not a long career as it's hard on the body."

The coach of the French ski team, Etienne Lecours, has been impressed by Cavet's potential.

"Ben has special ability on jumps and skiing and moguls joins them both together," Lecours told the BBC.

"At his age, he can do a lot of jumps and his ability is really special.

"I watched him compete last season and he showed some really good skill and that he can be a good skier on the World Cup. To be really consistent is another thing.

"It's not all about times as mogul skiing is judged.

"Fifty percent is technique, 25 is your speed and the jumps are 25%.

"It is rare to be on the World Cup at his age and it's really good progression."

Earlier this year UK Sport announced an award of almost £350,000 for the sport's governing body, which is to be spent in the run-up to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

David Edwards, the chief executive of British Ski & Snowboard, says that funding is specifically targeted to benefit athletes who stand the greatest chance of medal success.

"We would love Ben to have remained as a British athlete. However he chose to apply for a French licence last year and we did not consider it appropriate to interfere with his application," Edwards said.

"Our major source of funds now is UK Sport and their funding requirements are clear.

"Our funding comes from a variety of sources and often the source of the money has a major part to play in where that money is spent.

"UK Sport have a 'no compromise approach' that requires the funding that they provide to us to go to our best Olympic medal prospects.

"Delancey, our Alpine Team sponsor, direct their funds towards our alpine athletes.

"The programmes that benefit from the very small amount of discretionary money that we receive are determined by the multi-disciplinary board."

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Race moguls with teenager Cavet