“I love ski-racing and I love skiing in general and there’s no other sport that’s like it."
Cameron Rahles-Rahbula has won the men’s standing slalom to continue the golden run for Australia at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup in Thredbo.
The three-time Paralympian posted a combined time of 1:10.17 for his two runs to earn top spot on the podium, defeating American James Stanton (1:14.09) and Slovakia’s Martin France (1:22.70).
“I couldn’t be happier,” Rahles-Rahbula said. “My first run was good and I had a little bit of a lead so I was probably a little bit defensive at the top in the second run, but I worked my way out of that and got the speed up.
“Sometimes when you’ve got a little bit of a lead you can go into your shell a bit but that’s a bit risky and you start skiing differently. Thankfully, I was good enough not to do that today.”
It gave Rahles-Rahbula his second medal for the World Cup after winning silver in the men’s giant slalom the previous day, and also helped to provide a fitting ending to an illustrious career.
Rahles-Rahbula, a leg amputee from Victoria, recently announced his intention to retire from international ski racing to spend more time with his wife and baby son.
His final race will come in the slalom on Thursday, which he said he will approach with mixed emotions.
“I love ski-racing and I love skiing in general and there’s no other sport that’s like it. I’ll definitely miss the intensity and the speed but I’m sure I’ll look forward to teaching my boy to ski, that will be the next thing for me,” he said.
The victory took Australia’s gold medal tally to three for the World Cup, and the total tally to seven after Jessica Gallagher also added a silver medal in the women’s vision-impaired slalom.
Gallagher was third after the first run, but posted the fastest time in an outstanding second run with her new sighted guide Christian Geiger to snatch the silver medal.
Slovakia’s Henrietta Farkasova (1:25.00) and guide Natalia Subrtova won the gold while Gallagher (1:26.65) and Geiger took second from American Danielle Umstead (1:31.74) and her guide Robert Umstead.
Twenty four hours after winning her first giant slalom World Cup medal, Gallagher was delighted to continue on her medal winning way.
“Christian and I are still very new and our first run was not great but to come out in the second run and win it and put down a really solid run is really exciting,” Gallagher said.
“We’ve only had a couple of races in slalom together and there are a lot of things we need to work on but to win that second run is really exciting. It’s hard not to be excited about things when you’re six months from a Winter Paralympic Games.”