sport

Musgrave books last-eight spot

Andrew Musgrave became the first British cross-country skier to reach the quarter-finals of an Olympic men's sprint in Rosa Khutor on Tuesday.

Andrew Musgrave became the first British cross-country skier to reach the quarter-finals of an Olympic men's sprint in Rosa Khutor on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Scot finished 27th in the opening time trial, enough to earn a place in the knockout stages which were due to continue later in the day.

Musgrave's position also represented the highest position achieved by a British cross-country skier at any Games, eclipsing Tom Cairney's 28th place in Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1956.

Great Britain head coach Roy Young said: "This is an unprecedented achievement and it's amazing for Andrew to be in the quarter-finals.

"In very tricky conditions it's a mighty step forward and his finishing position is within our target looking towards 2018."

Musgrave squeezed in 9.40 seconds behind qualification winner Ola Hattestad but the timings are wiped clean for the quarter-finals, which consist of five heats of six, from which the top two in each advance to the semi-finals.

Despite his achievement Musgrave expressed disappointment with his performance, saying: "It wasn't amazing. I think I'm in very good shape but I didn't ski as well as I should have.

"It's easy on this course to go too fast at the start of the course and I didn't have enough to push with over the top. I lost time over the end of the course which was bad tactics from me.

"Once you get to the quarter-finals it's a different game - 30th or first is the same thing as long as you qualify."

Musgrave's Great Britain team-mates Andrew Young and Callum Smith both failed to make it through the qualification round, while his sister Posy Musgrave narrowly missed out on her Olympic debut.

Young struggled in the slushy conditions and finished 42nd, 12.33 seconds behind the winner, while Smith, whose best events are at distance, placed 62nd.

Young said: "It wasn't great. I think I'm good enough to go through and it was frustrating that I wasn't at the level that I know I can be.

"The conditions are quite hard - I'm a big guy and when you're going in this slush you sink in. I've got to work on that and get better on that and I'm not yet as good as I could be."

Posy Musgrave was happier with her own performance, but slightly disappointed that her 42nd place finish saw her miss out on a top 30 place by less than four seconds.

Musgrave said: "I ended up slightly good on my ranking, so any time you can do that is not a bad race.

"I knew it would be very tough to qualify in the top 30 and I would have to have had the race of my life to do it, but I'm feeling okay.

"I was nervous, but nerves are a good thing because it means you're psyched up for it and ready to go. I was probably more nervous than usual but I think I handled it well."