Following a successful season on the slopes members of the British Disabled Ski Team are already building towards the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
The squad underwent a comprehensive series of sports science assessments at the University of Bath at the weekend as part of their development programme to help them reach their peak performances in Vancouver in 2010.
Experts from the University of Bath carried out the physiology and strength & conditioning assessments on each of the nine skiers, who also attended seminars on sports psychology and performance analysis.
The aim of the session was to assess the current fitness levels of each athlete and advise them how they can improve in the run-up to 2010 in order to maximise their chances of winning a medal.
The weekend, which was set up by Jonathan Robinson, an applied physiologist at the university and Bath-based athlete Talan Skeels-Piggins, a member of the British Disabled Ski B Team and who is aiming to compete in Vancouver.
Talan said: “Disability skiing is going through a restructuring for the better and we’re becoming much more professional in our outlook.
“There’s no point in coming away from the slopes at the end of the season and saying ‘I’m a skier, I only work on the snow’, “he added. “You have to do a lot of hard work in the off-season if you’re going to compete with the big guns in the sport. All of the athletes thought it was a really professional weekend.”
Alpine skier Russell Docker, who like Talan competes in the sit-ski category using a monoski, is aiming to make Vancouver his third Paralympic Winter Games after competing at Salt Lake City in 2002 and then at Turin in 2006.
He said the weekend was a valuable exercise. “The whole weekend was absolutely fantastic,” he said. “It will provide me with a benchmark to make sure I’m doing the right sort of training.”
Kevin Alderton, a visually-impaired skier, who holds the visually impaired skiing world record of just over 100mph, added: “I’m really going to make a big push towards the 2010 team. This has helped me to have a better idea of where I need to put in more effort in order to get on top of my game.”
Sean Rose and Liz Miller, the other two members of the GB Alpine ski team that competed in the Turin 2006 Paralympic Games, also attended the weekend, along with amputee Craig Wiltshire and sit skiers Tim Farr, Jane Sowerby and Joe Willoughby.
In 2006/7 Britain’s disabled skiers have had their most successful season yet securing 14 podium places and 16 further top-10 finishes. As a team, GB climbed from 24th to 12th in the European Cup Nation rankings.
You can find out more information about the British Disabled Ski Team at: http://britishdisabledskiteam.co.uk
For further information about the British Paralympic Association, please contact Sian Davies in the Press Office on 0207 211 5240 or 07721 892686 or by email at email@example.com. For news updates visit the BPA website at www.paralympics.org.uk
photos Janos Schmidt