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Leonora-raised Olympian grabs fifth place at world championships

Neale HarveyKalgoorlie Miner
Kiara Reddingius and Bree Walker.
Camera IconKiara Reddingius and Bree Walker. Credit: Unknown/Supplied

Leonora-raised Kiara Reddingius’ return to international bobsleigh competition was vindicated last weekend with an overall fifth placing at the 2024 world championships in Winterberg, Germany.

Reddingius and Olympic teammate Bree Walker bucked the odds among a crack two-woman field and in the process thwarted a clean sweep of the top-six by Germany and the US.

Germany dominated the event to finish first, second and third, with the American duo of Kaysha Love and Azaria Hill fourth.

A second US team of Elana Meyers-Taylor and Emily Renna made a desperate bid for fifth spot, but were edged out by Reddingius and Walker.

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“We are incredibly proud of this performance and excited for this to be our baseline as our first full season together as a team,” Reddingius said.

“A world championships has the same format as an Olympic Games, which is four heats over two days.

“Bree and I had a goal this year for consistency both across pushing and driving as that is one of the most determining factors to do well in a major championships.

“Small mistakes are costly in bobsleigh (and) we could not be more proud of ourselves and our team and are really excited for what the future holds for us.”

Bree Walker and Kiara Reddingius celebrate.
Camera IconBree Walker and Kiara Reddingius celebrate. Credit: Unknown/Supplied

Reddingius and Walker reunited last year after they teamed-up at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Reddingius had been financially strapped in the wake of the Winter Olympics and had ambitions to pursue professional running.

A former nationally ranked heptathlete, Reddingius had bulked up for the rigours of bobsleigh competition.

Mentally and physically, she was ready to abandon those pursuits in favour of a return to athletics.

“When I returned from the Olympics, I didn’t have the intention of returning to bobsleigh due to the financial strain,” Reddingius said.

“I’d spent all my savings in the season leading up to the (2022) Olympics on travelling and competing for seven months (and) I decided to go back to pro running — dropping the 10kg I had put on for bobsleigh.

“Meanwhile, I was approached by Bree’s new coach (a) Canadian five-time Olympian (and) gold and silver Olympic medallist who asked if I was interested in returning to the sport and I explained the financial issues and a few other things holding me back.

“He said he’d keep in touch and believed Bree and I together as a team have great potential to be not only at the Olympics again, but competitive for medals.”

The financial support needed for a return to bobsleigh racing was provided by a small syndicate with major interests in winter sports.

Separate to the world championships, the World Cup moves into its final round on March 22-23 in Lake Placid, New York with Reddingius and Walker in overall fourth place.

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