“Trentino was one of my favourite resorts in Europe. I was surrounded by a full 360-degree view of the Alps.”
Australia’s Paralympic 200m T46 bronze medallist Simon Patmore made the switch from athletics to Para snowboard in 2014, making his World Cup debut in Landgraaf, the Netherlands.
After finishing 10th in the men’s banked slalom SB-UL back then, he progressed to win his first race at the IPC Snowboard World Cup in Trentino, Italy, in March in snowboard-cross.
“My first experience on a snowboard was 18 months ago at Perisher, Australia” he said. “I was told that the upper limb category will be in the programme for the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang. I had never snowboarded before but knew I had plenty of experiences with riding a skate. The sport has changed my life where I’m now chasing the snow eight months of the year with the Australian Adaptive Snowboard Team.”
After just 18 months on snow, the Australian athlete has come a long way and the win in Italy has made a real impact.
“That was one of my proudest achievements. Trentino was one of my favourite resorts in Europe” he said. “I was surrounded by a full 360-degree view of the Alps. Over the three months of racing, Trentino hosted the last boardercross World Cup for the season. The course featured a 500m straight line section leading into a 20-foot jump. It was a little intimidating at first but after a couple of practice runs my confidence grew”.
Patmore benefitted from the long section due to his quick starts and from being a little heavier than his competitors. He was consistent in the knockout rounds, beating all of his competitors by a few board lengths and made it into the big final.
“In the big final, I managed to lead the race by three board lengths straight out of the start gate. After the first few features I continued to lead the race, however my competitor was hot on my tail waiting for his opportunity to pass. On the third last turn he made a move on my inside line. He wasn’t able to complete his turn tight enough to pass and ended up colliding into me causing both of us to crash. The race wasn’t over, it was only 100m until the finish line and both of us were on the ground” he said.
“Fortunately, I landed on my stomach and just had to push myself up whereas my opponent was on his back and had to roll over to get up again. So I pointed my board towards the finish line and won my first ever World Cup competition!”
Patmore is currently training for PyeongChang 2018 with the ultimate goal to become both a summer and winter Paralympian.