Youth Olympics: Great rehearsal for Sochi 2014

A farewell ceremony for the Russian Youth Winter Olympic team has been held at Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Wednesday.

­The pick of the country's hopefuls have left for Innsbruck, Austria, for the first ever Junior Games, which get underway on Friday.

Russia will be represented by 67 young athletes, with women's figure skating traditionally being one of the team's biggest hopes.

Two wunderkinds of the sport – three-time domestic champion Adelina Sotnikova and world junior championships runner-up Elizaveta Tuktamyshova – are regarded as strong favorites for glory at the fast-approaching finals.

The duo sees it as the perfect rehearsal ahead of the Sochi-2014 Winter Olympics.

“It’s going to be much more than just a competition for me,” Tuktamysheva  told RT. “Myself and my teammate Adelina Sotnikova were chosen to represent our country at the Winter Olympics Youth Games. It's a big responsibility and a new exciting experience at the same time.”

“We will have a great chance to feel what the Olympics are all about two years ahead of Sochi 2014; what it feels like to live and communicate with other athletes, handle the pressure and hopefully win,” she added.

Russian sporting officials also share the young skater’s optimism ahead of the tournament.

“Of course, we expect some good results from our athletes at the Games,” Nikolay Tolstykh, executive director of the Russian Olympic Committee, said. “Hopefully, each of them will manage to fulfill their potential, despite the pressure which is always there when it comes to big events like this.”

Innsbruck is hosting the maiden Winter Games, while the first ever Summer Youth Olympic Games took place in Singapore in 2010.

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