Sneesby set for Winter Games

Ben Sneesby

Ben Sneesby

First published in Sport by

BEN Sneesby will find out a week Wednesday if he is going to Russia to compete in the Winter Paralympic Games.

The 19-year-old has made such startling progress in the last 18 months that it would now be a shock if he doesn’t get there.

But he is trying not to count his chickens.

He said: “I’ve not been selected so I’m not going to say I’m in, but I’m in the best position I could be.

“If you haven’t been to the Games before you need to get under 130 points in a discipline to qualify and I’ve done that in giant slalom and slalom.

“That’s all I can do really.

“There are no more races between now and the 15th, so if they’re going purely on points then I’m in a good position.

“I think they will also consider how you fit into the team, but the bottom line is who is performing the best.”

On that front, Sneesby took another giant stride in Austria last weekend.

Safely qualified in the giant slalom with a points score of 127, his slalom total had snagged on 130.

Two races in the Alps represented a final chance to nudge it down, and he took it with both hands, finishing third in each event to slice six more points off his total and reduce it to 124.

Meanwhile, at the same time two of his rivals for GB selection were skiing themselves out of contention by failing to qualify for their races in America.

Sneesby said: “We’re all a team so I feel massively sorry for them.

“But we’re all competing for one spot and to cut a long story short, they haven’t got the points down to where they need it to be.

“I suppose that makes it easier for the selectors.”

Sneesby will actually be with his training partners when the squad is announced.

He flies to America this week to join up with the three members of the full-time team for a World Cup race in Colorado taking place a week today.

Out of the four though, only two will be going to Sochi.

Sneesby said: “There will be a tense atmosphere there, but it’s only for a few days.

“There is going to be disappointment in the team, I just hope I’m not one of the disappointed ones.

“But I’m going to try not think about it. There is only so much you can do and I’ve done everything I can now. It’s out of my hands.”

If it is still hanging in the balance though, Sneesby hopes his age will give him the nod.

He’s not 20 until the summer and Sochi could just be the start of a long international career.

He said: “If I could end up going to the Paralympics it would be amazing.

“I haven’t had chance to sit down and think about it yet, but if I look back on where I’ve been and how much I’ve improved it’s incredible. I have surprised myself.

“But I’m still young and think I have a lot more potential.

“I got a bronze in my last two races and I got a bronze in Canada as well.

“I can only see myself getting better and come 2018 my goal could be to get a Paralympic medal – I think that’s realistic.”

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