Shropshire Star

Shropshire's Fern Cates aims for Winter Olympics

Could Shropshire teenager Fern Cates be Britain's next great star of the Winter Olympics?


Could Shropshire teenager Fern Cates be Britain's next great star of the Winter Olympics?

The 15-year-old is certainly on the right course - having become a double British champion for cross country skiing.

Fern, from Quatford, near Bridgnorth, triumphed at the Army Inter Service and British National Nordic Ski Championships in Ruhpolding, Germany.

She won the girls under-16 classic event, where the skis stay parallel, and the freestyle, where competitors use a skating motion.

"It's an incredible achievement," said her proud father Mike Cates.

"She has worked so hard and was over-taking big army lieutenants and you'd expect to be much stronger than her."

Fern, who is sponsored by Bridgnorth Health & Fitness Club, is also a member of the British Nordic Development squad.

And she has already started working towards the European Youth Olympics in Romania in 2013.

The teenager is a true sporting allrounder, swimming for Bridgnorth based Northgate Swimming Club, and turns her attention to a different discipline this weekend when she takes part in the semi-finals of the British Schools Biathlon Championships in Macclesfield.

Success in that event, where she must run 1,000m and swim 100m, would see her qualify for the finals at Crystal Palace in March.

She also competes in long distance open water events during the summer months, finishing second in the 5km at the Midlands Championships last year.

Fern has been skiing since she was eight and can regularly be seen training by powering up the Bridgnorth by-pass in an usual pair of roller skis. She also finished 2010 as the GB under-16 roller ski series champion and was second in the under-18s age group.

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