“Year after year I feel like I'm making progress, that's the most important thing in my preparations for each season. I'm working on every aspect of the sport.”
Witold Skupien was one of the big surprises at the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Finsterau, Germany, after winning silver in the men’s cross-country sprint standing.
“The day for me was perfect. My skis were great that day and I felt confident and good mentally. It ended up in my first medal,” he recalled.
The Polish continued his excellent form in cross-country by ending fourth in the 2016/2017 World Cup overall rankings. “Year after year I feel like I'm making progress, that's the most important thing in my preparations for each season. I'm working on every aspect of the sport.”
Highly-motivated following his successful season, Skupien has high expectations ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. “I would like to make the top places in every cross country start, I also compete in biathlon but it's like a bonus so I don't take it as seriously.”
Like many of his fellow athletes, he attended the World Cup round in PyeongChang last March to get a first look at the Paralympic venue. “The tracks are perfect for me, there are good up hills and downhills that I really enjoy skiing on. I only hope it's going to be much colder next year in PyeongChang when the Games begin!” he said.
Skupien, who lost his right arm below the elbow and part of his left hand after being electrocuted in an accident at aged 11, has already begun his training for the new season. However, it is difficult for him to find the funds to prepare as well as he would like to.
“We struggle year by year with money for preparation for the season”, he explained.
“So my plans for the summer are simple. I train most of the year alone at home in Poland but I’m hoping to go for some winter training camps on snow. I would like to make a lot of progress in the classic technique as I’m focusing mostly on cross country for this year.”