Lightfoot to push on after matching best Olympic finish for female biathlete
Biathlete Amanda Lightfoot vowed to keep chasing her magical moment at the Olympics after an opening race full of contrasting emotions.
The South Shields trailblazer began her PyeongChang 2018 campaign with a 67th-place finish in the women's 7.5km sprint on Saturday – equalling Emma Fowler's best-ever Olympic finish for a female British biathlete from Turin 2006. But the achievement was tinged with disappointment for the two-time Olympian who missed out on a top-60 finish which would have seen her qualify for Monday's 10km pursuit. Battling windy conditions at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre, Lightfoot picked up three shooting penalties before coming over the line well inside the top 60 in a time of 24:15.30 minutes. But with a further 36 competitors completing their own races after her, the Brit faced the agony of watching herself slowly drop down the leaderboard and eventually outside the top 60. "I've invested everything into the last four years, I just want that magical result. Being in the pursuit would have been a great chance for an even better result," she said. "It was a pretty tough race with the wind. It was like you were having a fight against the wind all the time and I got quite unlucky in my prone where there was quite a bit of wind and I missed two shots. "And then I missed one in the standing. Three is usually too many but when it's windy like that you can also be in as well. It was always going to be tight. "It is still good to equal the best-ever Olympic result for a female British biathlete. I'm often so focused on trying to be world class that I sometimes forget about the little milestones. "It is still quite good and I do have to give myself credit." Britain's sole biathlon representative in PyeongChang, Lightfoot is proudly flying the flag for the sport in this country. Unlike some of her British Olympic teammates, her sport's national governing body, the British Biathlon Union, receives no funding from UK Sport, meaning Lightfoot has to rely on donations, sponsors and her own means to fund her sporting dream. Saturday's result bettered her Olympic debut from four years ago where she finished 75th and 71st in the 7.5km sprint and 15km individual. And the 31-year-old, who is on full-time release from the army where she serves as a sergeant clerk in the Adjutant General's Corps, believes the improvements have come about from a change in attitude. "I'm a hundred per cent a different athlete. I want it a lot more. I'm more determined, I train a lot more. I've got a great trainer and coach, physio, psychologist," she explained. After missing out on the pursuit, Lightfoot's next outing on the Alpensia snow will come on Valentine's Day in the 15km individual. Before then she will be hitting the shooting range hard to try and eradicate the errors which hindered her in the sprint, while also preparing herself for another physical battle. But driven on by the support of those back home, Lightfoot was relishing the chance to put herself through the wringer again. "The individual is my sort of race, it's long, there are tough hills. Beasting myself around the track is probably my sort of thing. If the wind dies down then it could be a really good day," she said. "A lot of people are supporting me back home and it's really nice. I know my family and friends will be watching me and they are proud I am here at a second Olympic Games. "They are just proud for that. I want to be the best in the world."