Phil Bellingham set sights on career-best performance at PyeongChang

FEELING GOOD: Mount Beauty export Phil Bellingham is optimistic about his chances at PyeongChang. Picture: AAP
FEELING GOOD: Mount Beauty export Phil Bellingham is optimistic about his chances at PyeongChang. Picture: AAP

Mount Beauty cross country skier Phil Bellingham has set himself for a career-best performance at the Winter Olympics.

Bellingham broke through for his first World Cup final earlier this year when he placed 27th in the qualifiers.

He also lined up with Callum Watson in the team sprint and they just missed the final in 12th spot.

After competing at his first World Championships in 2013, Bellingham went on to make his Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

He placed 76th in the 15km classic and 55th in the individual sprint, before placing 21st in the team sprint with Watson.

Bellingham admits he’s dealt with the hype much better ahead of the Games at PyeongChang.

He’s entered in Sunday’s 15km event, as well the sprint on Tuesday and the team sprint on February 21, but is yet to decide whether he will contest the 50km discipline. 

“I’m feeling at home a bit more, which is good,” Bellingham said.

“Just three weeks ago, I had my best result ever and managed to make the final of the sprint for the first time which was awesome.

“Callum Watson and I had one of our best team sprints at the same time, so it’s all looking pretty good.

“I hope the form keeps continuing that way.

“I’d love to make the top-30 in the sprint and go through to the finals, it’s a pretty steep ask, but we’ll see how it goes.

“I’d also love to make the final in the team sprint with Callum, but it’s also a pretty tough one.

“I think if we both have a really good day, it’s possible, but if anything goes wrong, we’ll be on the wrong side of the cut.

“It’s pretty cutthroat.

“It’s good to have a lot more experience under the belt and having done an Olympic Games before, the hype is not taking a toll on me.

“I’m a lot more relaxed and feel like I’ve got the ability to put down some good results.”

Bellingham admits he has also plenty of support from friends and family back home.

“Everyone has been sending me a lot of messages over Facebook and whatnot,” he said.

“It’s really good to have them on side and supporting me as I go.”

Fellow Mount Beauty export Britt Cox will go for gold in the women’s moguls on Sunday night, while Porepunkah’s Greta Small is focusing on the speed events in alpine skiing during the second week of competition.