THE saying goes that a week is a long time in politics, but in the case of Kyle Wise, a week could go a long way to deciding his snowboard cross future.
Wise, a 24-year-old Englishman who graduated from Heriot-Watt this summer, is taking on the triple whammy of a World Cup event, the World University Games and a Europa Cup leg, all in seven days, as he bids to give the Team GB Winter Olympics selectors food for thought ahead of the finalisation of the squads that will head to Sochi in February next year.
Snowcross riders aren’t supposed to take on uphill tasks, but Wise is revelling in the gruelling schedule he has thrust upon himself. He is due to travel to Austria on Saturday to undertake a two-week training camp ahead of his first assignment, the World Cup event, also held in Austria, on December 6. Wise wants to be in the best shape possible ahead of his toughest task to date.
“It’s quite an intense time for me as I am pretty much fitting in all the biggest competitions of the season in about ten days,” Wise told the Evening News. “I’m also heading to Austria on Saturday for two weeks’ training before the World Cup event starts on December 6. I’ve then got the World University Games on December 10 before a Europa Cup leg on December 13, so it will be a tough few weeks. The last time I went to the World University Games in Turkey in 2011, there were four or five Olympians competing, so this is the standard expected.
“If I do really well at the World Cup and get a good result at the University Games, then selection for the Olympics will still be possible. It is a huge ask, but, if I can, then it will raise my ranking. I feel like I am being thrown in at the deep end, but I just have to show what I can do.
“They (Heriot-Watt) gave me a huge amount of money last year, but because I have now graduated, they can’t do the same. They’re still helping me out with gym membership at Riccarton, so I’m trying to generate as much as I can. You’re still allowed to compete at the World University Games one year after you graduate so this will be my last time, but it’s great to give something back to the university.”
Although hopeful of a strong end to a season in which Wise has become one of the country’s most potent riders, he has often struggled off the slopes due to being largely reliant on self funding. Although his position is secure for the forthcoming World University Games in Italy, he is keen to have some support on board.
Wise, who finished 29th at the World University Games in 2011 in Turkey, said: “I will be trying to get into the top ten this time around in Italy. I have won everything in the UK this season, so I think the two weeks of training will really help me. It’s been quite difficult as I’ve been very sidetracked trying to sort out my funding problems which mean you can’t also focus on being an athlete.
“I suppose the 2018 Olympics are my realistic target because my progression is going up every season. Hopefully I will have the support by then and be able to train like an elite athlete. All I want to do is race and be the best I can because I have a lot of potential. I’ve just got to keep that momentum going.
“I’ve got some pretty cool pledges or gifts to give away for anyone willing to help, like a ‘come and ride with me’ session, a wax and maintenance workshop and I’m also giving away some of my GB equipment, so I want to give something back. I’ve also been doing some motivational speeches back at my old school in Norfolk, which went really well.”
Anyone willing to help Kyle Wise with support should visit crowdfunder.co.uk/get-kyle-to-the-games