Midhurst teenager Lucy makes history in sled dog championships

Off to a good start CONTRIBUTED PICTURE SUS-140512-104148001
Off to a good start CONTRIBUTED PICTURE SUS-140512-104148001

A MIDHURST teenager has made history by hurtling to victory in the European sled dog championships.

Lucy van Zwanenberg is the first ever junior to represent Great Britain in an international event, scooping silver in her class.

“It was so exciting to be part of it,” said Lucy. “The opening ceremony began with a parade of the nations through the town, people lining the streets, smiling and waving.

“Race days were full on, preparing for my race and helping other team GB members get to the start.”

The European Dryland Championship took place in France.

When not competing, the 16-year-old is studying for A-levels in maths, physics, chemistry and biology at Midhurst Rother College.

Despite the heavy going 6.4km course, Lucy’s four-dog team, Mali, Polar, Zak and Zeus, ran brilliantly, but were pipped to the finish by a Russian team.

Lucy is now set to compete in UK rallies, the first at Sherwood Forest, before hopefully qualifying for Team GB again.

She added: “Since a young age I have always loved sled dogs and the sport. I haven’t come from a family with a history in the sport so it wasn’t until I was 12 and strong enough to take care of them myself that I was able to own two huskies. My knowledge can be passed on to my fellow mushers in the future. I do whatever I can to promote the sport by having the right attitude and passion, for example, stories in the local paper – best transport to prom – and young sports personality of the year.”

Lucy has also helped initiate the South Downs sled dog team, helping train others.

“I would love to be able to help out in a larger organisation, perhaps as a junior ambassador.

“My ambition is to compete with teams of sled dogs and this event could be the beginning.

“I would like to thank John Carter, GB team leader, Charlie Brecknell and the rest of team GB who were so encouraging.

“A special thanks to Jay Coates of Chichester for the support and hours of training, and also to my mum and dad for their continuous support and getting up very early so I can train.”