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Wycombe teenager aiming for Winter Games
THE Paralympics aren’t over; in fact for Ben Sneesby the Games are just starting.
The 18-year-old from Wycombe is a disabled skier with grand plans of making the Winter Paralympic Games of 2014.
He has been watching London 2012 thinking, ‘it could be me’, and selectors clearly agree.
In the past few weeks he has been invited to the Olympic Park and Village as part of a British Paralympic Inspiration Programme, with a view to preparing talented athletes for 2014.
He said: “It was a real honour to get picked, it shows your sport believes you can get to the next Games.
“They took us into the stadium to watch a sport of our choice and then to the village where we met the athletes. It was phenomenal.
“I just thought, ‘oh wow’, but I think they took us so that we’d have that reaction there and not in Russia in two years time.”
Sneesby only started skiing five years ago at adaptive sessions on Wycombe’s dry slopes, but the organisers spotted his talent and word quickly spread to the British Disabled Ski Team.
At the time he was just 15, so to keep him on board the Junior Development Team was set up.
He was the first member of a group that has now swelled to ten members, but Sneesby is aiming higher and is already part of the full British Disabled Ski Team.
However, here’s the rub. That doesn’t equate to a place on the Great Britain team that will go to Russia.
To stand a chance he needs to earn enough points from a series of prestige races taking place throughout Europe from October to February.
But with no funding available from the sport’s governing body, that means it could be a case of survival of the richest.
Sneesby said: “There are ten slalom events and hopefully I’ll get to all of them.
“Nobody is funded in our sport though, we’re all self-funded, and they say it would cost about £10,000 to cover the season.
“But you’ve got to be confident. I’ve been told I’ve got a natural ability and the coaches say I’m fantastic technically. They really think I could get to the Games and do well there.”
Ben_Sneesby@hotmail.co.uk or call 07769 310406