Luge first for New Zealand teen pair, naturally

CHE BAKER
Last updated 05:00 26/01/2013
Fogo
FIL/SOBE
FREEZE AND EASY: Josh Fogo, 15, of Naseby,gets in some practice for the Natural Track Luge World Championships in Italy.

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Two South Island teenagers are about to become the first Kiwis to compete in the Natural Track Luge World Championships.

Josh Fogo, of Naseby, and Jack Leslie, of Christchurch, both 15, are taking part in the event at Deutschnofen, Italy.

The event started on Thursday and ends tomorrow.

Josh and Jack have been natural luging for several years, training at Central Otago's Naseby Luge Track.

NZ Olympic Luge Association president Geoff Balme said with support from the International Luge Federation and Italian Luge the pair spent the past month training and competing in Italy and Austria.

The prospect of a trip was raised during a month-long Naseby coaching stint by Italy's world champion Patrick Pigneter last winter.

"So far our training and racing has been about improving on the skills and knowledge that we already developed on the Naseby track," Jack said.

"The tracks are twice as long as Naseby, much steeper and much faster.

"But we are starting to feel comfortable with what we are doing."

Josh said not being able to speak German was a problem, "but we are making lots of friends".

After the championships, the pair will compete in a World Cup race at Kindberg in Austria from February 1 to 3 before returning to New Zealand.

Natural track luge takes place on tracks constructed largely from natural mountain terrain without the artificially elevated curves and refrigeration of Olympic luge tracks.

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- The Southland Times

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