“My biggest goal is the Paralympics in 2018 in PyeongChang, but first I’d like to have the qualification for Europe and World Cup races.”
IPC Alpine Skiing has released a new video which celebrates the success of the inaugural IPC European Para Snow Sport Youth Circuit, featuring some potential faces to look out for in the future.
The video can be viewed at the IPC's YouTube channel ParalympicSport.TV.
The 15-month-long circuit included five camps for more than 50 youngsters with an impairment aged between 10-17 years of age. They were either trying winter sports for the first time, or were already on the road to their first competition.
The young athletes travelled around Europe together to venues in Spain, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy between January 2013 and April 2014, visiting slopes in each of their countries along the way.
Each camp concluded with an event under race conditions, and overall points trophies were awarded in sitting, standing and visually impaired classifications.
As well as training on the snow with professional coaches such as 10-time Paralympic champion skier Martin Braxenthaler, participants also took part in sessions on anti-doping, the media, nutrition, equipment and technology.
In the video, several of the youngsters talk about their experiences on the circuit, including the Netherlands’ Jeroen Kampschreur who discovered competitive spirit through the camps: “I learnt that I can be friends with the other skiers but they are my enemies too,” he said.
In the video, Kampschreur and a group of fellow young Dutch skiers go on a trip to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games to watch Paralympians such as Austrians Markus Salcher and Claudia Loesch and France’s Marie Bochet in action.
Salcher, Loesch and Bochet were all part of the very first youth snow circuit in 2007. They went on to win a total of nine alpine skiing medals including seven golds on the slopes of Rosa Khutor at Sochi 2014.
Inspired by their performances Germany’s Bjorn Bhenke, the winner of the overall youth men’s sitting crown, said: “My biggest goal is the Paralympics in 2018 in PyeongChang, but first I’d like to have the qualification for Europe and World Cup races.”
Finishing just behind Behnke in the final rankings was the Dutch pair of Niels Lanken (375 points) and Kampschreur (350 points) in second and third respectively.
In the women’s equivalent, the German trio of Florentine Schlecht (440 points), Pauline Schramm (340 points) and Catharina Weis made up the final podium.
The women’s standing saw teammate Kim Monsieur (400 points) beat Spain’s Barbara Perez by 20 points followed by Slovenian Anja Drev (300 points)
Rounding off the results were Spaniard Marcel Sole (500 points), Italy’s Roberto Sartori (280 points) and Slovenian Luca Keber (170 points) in the men’s visually impaired. Keber’s teammate Lucija Planinc (330 points) and Italian Martina Vozza (240 points) were the top two in the women’s event.
The 2013-14 IPC European Para Snow Sport Youth Circuit was organised and implemented by IPC Alpine Skiing and financially supported by the European Commission, the Global Sports Development Foundation, Atos, and the Agitos Foundation.
Delivery partners included the European Paralympic Committee, Play and Train, the Centre Vidm Cilj, the Netherlands Ski Federation, the German National Paralympic Committee and the Freewhite Ski Team.
As part of a legacy programme from the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, Spain, Liski donated safety equipment for use at future youth camps and training at the same venue. Palkinto Tukku provided medals and trophies for the circuit.
The full results of the circuit, which featured more than 50 aspiring Paralympians, can be found at the IPC Alpine Skiing website.