Wycombe skier gears up for Paralympics debut

Bucks Free Press: Ben Sneesby Ben Sneesby

A DREAM becomes reality for Ben Sneesby tomorrow when the Paralympic Games get underway in Sochi, Russia.

The 19-year-old mono skier will represent GB in slalom and giant slalom and says he’s determined to make the most of the experience.

He said: “A year and a half ago, the Paralympics was something I wanted to go to but I didn’t know how realistic it was.

“To me it will be amazing to see what the Games are all about, to get into the athletes village, just to experience the whole thing will be great.

“The Paralympics is just such a special event and it’s great to be a part of it.”

The former John Hampden pupil was hardly a certainty for selection despite being one of the first members of the British Disabled Ski Team’s Youth Development Squad in 2009, but his commitment in the past two years has been total and the results impossible to ignore.

He said: “I’ve been up to a lot of travelling this season, travelling around skiing and racing in different areas.

“There has been a massive improvement in my skiing from when I started my full time programme a year and a half ago up to where I am now.

“In Austria just after Christmas I got two medals and over in Canada as well so there is stuff to prove I am on the right track.”

Sneesby and his fellow skiers will be joined in Russia by a five-strong wheelchair curling team as Britain compete in two of the five sports taking place.

They will be led by chef de mission Penny Briscoe MBE, herself a veteran of seven summer and winter Olympics and Paralympics, and she was quick to tip Sneesby to step up to the mark on his Games debut.

She said: “I think it’s fair to say this would be the most professional and the best prepared winter Paralympics team going to a games representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

“I think it’s a really exciting team, it’s a mix of first time Paralympians and those who have been to previous games.

“The young guys like Ben Sneesby, those guys are not just going there to make up the numbers, they’ve earned their place on the team.

“They’ve hit the criteria set by the international Olympic committee and obviously the BDST and they will be going out there giving their best down and on the day, who knows?”

Sneesby competes in the Men’s Slalom next Thursday and the Giant Slalom a week tomorrow.

Sainsbury’s is a proud long-term supporter of the British Paralympic Association and a champion of inclusive sport for all. For more information on Sainsbury’s commitment to inclusive sport visit: http://www.Sainsburys.co.uk/activekids

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