ParalympicsGB

Race day is here

Today we start our season with a World Cup competition in Canmore, Canada. The races are on from the 9th to 17th December and will consist of cross country and biathlon all various distances. I will be racing in 6 different events over the 8 days.

We arrived in Canmore on the 30th November and our journey couldn’t have gone any smoother, we were treated like kings by the British Airways crew on the flight and even got an upgrade to business class which was a real treat. Thanks again Capt Norris-Worton and your crew for looking after the team.

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Training in Canmore this past week has been incredible the scenery is beautiful and we couldn’t have asked for better weather the only thing that has been little disappointing is the lack of snow but the organisers have had the snow machines on constantly and the venue is looking as good as if it was the  real stuff.

Over the weekend we had our first two cross country races, first up was the sprint race 750m. This is probably my worst event as I don’t class myself as a sprinter, it didn’t help that I crashed on the finish straight (yes, the straight about 20m from the line!) which meant I was out in the first round. Overall though I was happy with my race and know I have more to give next time in the sprint - all I need to do is stay upright!

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Sunday was the 7.5km middle distance race this race is on a 2.5km loop which you do three times, being my fifth race ever I was happy to come 27th setting a time which I’m fairly happy with. Yet again, I had a couple of falls losing me a fair bit of time but I also learnt I need to work a bit more on my right turns as it’s definitely my weaker side with a shorter stump.

Next race is on Tuesday (15km cross country) then Wednesday is a rest day before the biathlon starts on 14th, 16th and 17th.

So far the team has performed pretty well. Every one of us has stepped up our game from last season so we know the summer training has paid off so with the first two races this season under our belts. We know if we can find a few seconds here and there we will move up in the ranking, and make our dreams come true of being on that plane in March next year.

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From ParalympicsGB: Arnold determined to end whirlwind year on a high with PyeongChang on the horizon

Article from ParalympicsGB

With Paralympic qualification up for grabs in only his second ever race, Steve Arnold has had far from a steady introduction to para Nordic skiing.

Having only taken up the sport in January, 2017 has proven to be a whirlwind year for Arnold, making his debut at February’s World Championships with only ten hours on the snow in his locker.

But as the former GB handcyclist prepares to mount his qualification campaign for PyeongChang, he’s determined to show a summer of hard work has paid off.

This weekend, the first Nordic World Cup of the season gets underway in Canmore, with Scott Meenagh and Terry Ahrens also flying the flag for Great Britain on the Canadian slopes.

And having missed out on the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games during his cycling career, Arnold is more determined than ever to make it onto the plane to PyeongChang.

“It’s been a hectic year, a whirlwind, because I haven’t even been doing the sport for a year yet,” said Arnold, who was vice-captain for the UK team at this year’s Invictus Games.

“Nordic skiing was a sport I had never done before, even before I was injured, so it interested me when I was given the opportunity.

“I wasn’t even thinking about PyeongChang when I first started. The first race I did was in February at the World Championships, and I only went because I needed to race.

“I definitely wasn’t good enough to be there at the time but I needed to go to make sure I raced that season.

“Over the summer, going to the Paralympics has become more and more of a reality. I’ve been getting a lot quicker and better at picking things up.

“Words can’t describe what it would mean to me to get to the Paralympics. It would be absolutely incredible.”

"Words can’t describe what it would mean to me to get to the Paralympics. It would be absolutely incredible."Steve Arnold

Para Nordic skiing sees athletes compete in biathlon and cross-country races, with Arnold getting his World Cup season underway on Saturday.

The action in Canmore runs from December 9-17, with the British team having spent the last week getting used to the conditions and fine-tuning their last-minute preparations.

But while he admits to feeling the pressure slowly starting to build on his shoulders, Arnold is quietly confident for the months ahead.

“We’re really looking forward to starting to race in Canmore,” he said.

“The track is looking good and we’ve been training a couple of times a day. The excitement is really starting to build.

“I’m starting to feel a bit of pressure and a lot of that is from myself. I don’t really know how this World Cup is going to go, I’ve only ever raced once before, but I know I’m in a better place than I was in February.

“Hopefully I can hit the qualifying standard, and if not, close to it, and then at least we know we’re moving in the right direction.

“Myself, Scott and Terry are all confident this season can go well. We feel like we’re really ready to go and we don’t think we’re that far behind the rest of the field now.”

Photo: Help for Heroes 

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