Alpine Skiing Championships in Australia Push Qualification

12 Aug 2009 By IPC

Australian athletes in Paralympic Winter Sport are rounding the corners of the race course this week at the 2009 Australian Paralympic Alpine Skiing Championships in Thredbo.

Taking place from 10-13 August in the Thredbo ski resort in New South Wales, Australia, many athletes are hoping the Championships will be their opportunity to qualify for the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Officials making the national selection are watching each and every performance closely, making certain to bring the best of Australia to the Winter Games.

Visually impaired skiers Bart Bunting and Jessica Gallagher for example have already proven their elite status by giving outstanding performances on the first two days of competition. Both athletes are already shaping up to be potential medal contenders for Australia at the Vancouver Paralympics next year.

In the Men’s Giant Slalom Standing race, athletes Cameron Rahles-Rahbula, Toby Kane and Mitchell Gourley demonstrated their rivalry on the course, finishing within seconds of each other on day one. Current world champion Rahles-Rahbula finished first at 1:45.17, followed by Kane at 1:45.59 and Gourley at 1:46.84.

The Australian Paralympic Winter Team head coach, Steve Graham, said it was important for the Australian squad to perform well in Thredbo this week, as preparations for the Paralympic Winter Games are entering the final stages.

The 2009 Australian Paralympic Alpine Skiing Championships continue with a Slalom event tomorrow.

The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games will take place from 12-21 March 2010, with approximately 600 athletes from 45 countries expected to compete in five sports: Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Ice Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Curling.