There are just 50 days to go until skiers make their way to Sestriere, Italy for the 2011 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing World Championships.
From 15-23 January 2011, over 130 athletes from 27 countries are expected to compete in Sestriere, giving fans the biggest taste of Paralympic Winter Sport since the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
Skiing on the same slopes that were used during the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games, IPC Alpine Skiing Sport Technical Committee Chairperson Sylvana Mestre said it will be a great event to start 2011.
“I expect the World Championships to be excellent for athletes. The slope is awesome and athletes have fun coming down.
“There are many new athletes up and coming, and I think it’s the first step toward 2014. By next winter, it will already have been decided who will be going to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games for Alpine Skiing.
Mestre said many athletes considered retiring after the Vancouver 2010 Winter Paralympic Games, however changed their minds in the last few months due to the appeal of Sestriere.
“Big names like Gerd Schoenfelder (GER) and Jon Santacana (ESP) were saying they were going to quit. But a few months later when I spoke with Jon for example, he said ‘I would love to go to Sestriere’. Now they are both on the list for the World Championships.”
Schoenfelder took gold in Giant Slalom, Super Combined and Downhill race in the Men’s Standing Category at the 2009 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Gangwon-Do, Korea. Korea also saw wins from other skiers such as Thomas Pfyl (SUI) and Henrieta Farkašová (SVK), both of whom will also be competing at the World Championships in Sestriere.
Mestre added: “Many younger athletes like Cameron Rahles-Rahbula (AUS), Toby Kane (AUS), or Adam Hall (NZL) will also be there and are becoming stronger contenders, making for a great showing of athletic ability on the slopes.”
The 2011 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Sestriere, Italy will include Downhill, Giant Slalom, Slalom, Super-G, Super Combined and Team events.