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Junior World Cup - Luge

Otago Daily Times —

Summer days are fast becoming a rarity for Ella Molteno, although that comes with a pretty good trade-off.

The 16-year-old is preparing to head to Europe on December 10, where she will spend 10 weeks training and competing at the luge junior world cup.

That follows her first taste of the event last year — when she spent six weeks in Europe.

Next year she will embark on her ultimate goal of qualifying the Youth Winter Olympics, for which she could be gone for four months.

It has been a quick rise for the year 11 Logan Park High School pupil, who returned to the sport last year after having enjoyed it as a kid.

She had done well nationally and had good experiences competing in Innsbruck, Austria, and Winterburg, Germany.

Both figured on her itinerary this time around too, as well as Oberhof, Germany and St Mortiz-Celerina, Switzerland.

Training overseas was intense, despite being able to get more runs in New Zealand — sometimes up to 14 a day compared to three in Europe.

However, the European tracks were longer, every race was timed and filmed, and they were better set up.

She compared those tracks to a hydroslide with corners that came up, rather than the Naseby one which was more of a road.

"For me the training overseas is better just because I enjoy it more," she said.

"Also during the season here I don’t get much rest time, [or] time to myself, because it’s training multiple hours a day.

"Whereas over there I can have four hours in the morning to do whatever and then go to training."

Last year’s experience would be helpful off the track as well.

Her German was far better than it was last year, while the travel would not be so daunting after the first time.

She would also have company this time; Kavanagh College’s Hunter Burke was also going.

While last year she had finished 37th, 38th and 28th in her three races, Molteno was looking further up the rankings this time.

She was aiming for a top 10 finish, although knew that may be ambitious.

"Some of the people are really good and all the Italians have new sleds.

"Last year there was one Italian girl who had a new sled and she was going a second faster than everyone else, which is a huge difference.

"So now all of them have them — I might get one of their old ones, though."

She will return in February three weeks into the school year, and have limited time to get her school work done.

October is her departure date to seek qualification for the Youth Olympics, held in January 2020.