Walker confident of success in Sochi
Junior world bobsleigh champion Paula Walker says new funding and better training can see Great Britain to Olympic gold in Sochi 2014.
Walker, fresh from a fourth place finish in the team event at the World Championships in Konigssee, Germany, believes that Team GB are on the verge of dining at the sport's very top table.
Her and brakeman Rebekah Wilson's junior gold was one of many successes for the squad last season but their £2.42million UK Sport funding boost may well prove to be the year's best result.
The 24-year-old from Blackburn, who has only been driving bobsleighs for four years, is keeping her feet firmly on the ice despite her rapid rise through the ranks but has her sights set on Olympic glory.
"I nearly fell off my chair when I heard about the funding boost. It is a huge amount of cash for us and it will have a big impact," she said.
"Next year should be very good for us in the bob as there are a few Americans and Canadians retiring and I fully expect GB to be a driving force in the sport.
"Sochi is our ultimate aim and everything is working towards that but I am definitely taking it one year at a time before that as you never know what is round the corner with injuries."
With former world champion Nicola Minichiello suffering a leg injury last season, Walker became Britain's number one driver and she has no intention of dropping down the ladder.
"The increased funding will certainly put more pressure on as they have invested a lot but nobody puts more pressure on me than myself so I am happy with that," she said.
"I am incredibly excited about the season ahead as it is important to build towards Sochi with success in the years leading up to it.
"We are starting a new routine in April which will see me working on certain areas of my technique so you should see improvement this year.
"With Nicola and Gillian Cooke [another former world champion] around, there are a few of us who share our ideas and experiences and this should benefit us all."