sport

British pair eye Pyeonchang medal

Figure skaters Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland completed their Winter Olympic apprenticeship then immediately targeted a medal in 2018.

The Great Britain ice dance duo, both 24, made their Olympic debut in Vancouver four years ago where they finished in 20th place and after winning a bronze in the European championships in January, their progress continued in the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi.

They went into the free skate section of the competition at with a score of 59.33 from their short programme on Sunday night and their Russian coach Evgeny Platov looking for a top 10 finish.

Their thrilling routine to a medley of Michael Jackson music engaged the crowd and the mark of 91.78 gave them a total of 151.11 to leave them in 10th place with Coomes looking to peak in Pyeongchang when the next Games come around.

"Vancouver was almost like a free ticket for us, we got to experience it and take it all in," she said.

"This time round, it has been more serious. It has definitely given me that hunger and I really want to come back in four years'

time and get that medal, that is what we are going to strive for every day.

"We're going to work towards that, give it everything and see how it goes.

"I feel like we have only just begun. I know we have been skating together for a long time but the way we train now compared to the way we used to train four years ago is at another level and I feel we have only just started to reach our potential."

"I think Vancouver came sooner than expected," said Buckland. "Sochi was going to be our first Games, that was the plan but everything seems to be mapping out as we wanted to and Vancouver seems like extra experience

"There is a lot to learn, that's why I didn't say I wanted a medal here. I know we have skills to perfect, we have to mature and to take it to a new level.

"But I feel we are competitive now and that will carry us for the next four years."

Such a terrific result did not come without a monumental effort from the British pair.

"I gave it everything and I couldn't feel my legs when I got off," said Coomes.

"I sat in the 'kiss and cry' and I couldn't feel my feet and I just wanted to take my skates off.

"It has happened a couple of times before but this was particularly bad.

"Normally at the end I can hold it together a little bit better than that but I was absolutely exhausted."

Buckland added: "It's good to know that when you come off you have nothing left.

"You have left it all out on the ice and that's what we wanted to do, no matter the marks or performance or whatever, we wanted to give everything we had and we did that."

Platov confirmed the plan for Pyeongchang.

He said: "I'm pleased but I'm never satisfied. They will improve, they have four years before the next Olympics.

"We have to add endurance, speed and improve on technique.

"But Sochi wasn't the target, the target was top 10. The next target is four years and medals."