By David Gold

Nicola_MinichielloApril 20 - Britain's Nicola Minichiello, the winner of the 2009 World Championship, is retiring from bobsleigh to take up a role with the International Bobsleigh Federation (FIBT) as their head development coach.

The 33-year-old will be working with the international youth programme and said: "Throughout my 10 year career in bobsleigh I've experienced many achievements.

"However, becoming world champion was truly the highlight.

"During this time I'm delighted to have worked with so many great individuals, organisations and sponsors, to all of you and to my family, fans and supporters, thank you. "

Minichiello has been the British number one driver for nine successive years, competing in the last three Winter Olympic Games, including Vancouver last year.

Minichiello made history by taking a silver medal at the 2005 World Championships, and then, in tandem with Gillian Cooke, went one better in 2009 to become Britain's first female world champion, and is recognised as the most successful British bobsleigh athlete of her era.

British Bobsleigh chairman Andrew Ridgway said: "We wish Nicola well and would like to thank her for all her hard work over the years.

"Her 2009 World Championship title helped to put Britain back on the map for bobsleigh and also inspired a new generation of athletes.

"We will now look to other athletes, including world junior champion Paula Walker and those coming through our talent ID programme to ensure that Britain continues to be a major force in world bobsleigh."

Communications director of British Bobsleigh, Manny Cohen, added: "British Bobsleigh is grateful for everything that Nicola has done for the sport.

"The future is bright for British Bobsleigh especially under our performance Director Gary Anderson who is building our new team in preparation for bringing back a medal at Sochi 2014."

Sochi 2014 preparations continue apace with former bobsleigh athlete Chris Woolley appointed as performance manager, whilst British Bobsleigh is continuing to host talent identification and transfer days to fast track athletes into the sport.

Double Olympic sprinter Paul Brizzel, Scottish 60 metres indoors champion Stu Benson and Commonwealth 100m silver medallist Katherine Endacott all took this route into bobsleigh.

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