By Kristan Mouat | Posted: Sunday November 9, 2014
Tayla Ward (15) has been selected for New Zealand's first women's Luge team which will compete in World Cup events in Europe during December and January.
Tayla will compete in a series of luging competitions in Italy, Germany and Austria accumulating points at each event towards her World Championship ranking.
Tayla said it was rare for New Zealanders to compete in luging on a world stage, purely because there was only one luging facility in the southern hemisphere. The reason she got into the sport was because that facility was built in Naseby by her grandfather Raye Ward.
"I've been competing in the sport for the last four years. Most of my holidays are spent in Naseby."
Tayla said sliding down an icy track, feet first, on an oversized ice-skate at up to 100kmh was "pretty frightening" but it was one of the few things that satisfied her need for speed.
Since taking up the sport, she has won the New Zealand (Open) Luge Cup and has been first and second in the Naseby Cup (women's under 15).
Tayla said she would spend her first week in Europe training with her coach and walking through the ice-covered tracks to work out how best to navigate the high speed turns without being injured.
Tayla leaves on December 2 and will return to Dunedin in time to start school again in February next year.