Disabled compete alongside able bodied
15th August 2011
They are battling out in separate events in the New Zealand Winter Games. It is the only top level event where they all take part. We have an article from The International Ski Federation (FIS).
Adaptive snow sports will feature an extended programme at 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games, the only elite snow sports event to combine both adaptive and able-bodied competition on the same courses.
The new addition to the adaptive programme for 2011 is the Para Snowboard Cross World Cup that will feature the inspirational women’s world champion Amy Purdy from the USA who had both her legs amputated when she was a teenager.
The event will also include the 2009 world champion, Tyler Mosher (CAN) and New Zealand’s national champion, Scott Coates.
Cross-country sees a strong adaptive field which includes double Paralympic men’s gold medallist Yoshihiro Nitta from Japan and his teammate, Shoko Ota who took out Paralympic silver in the women’s sprint race.
They are joined by USA national Champion, Sarah Edwards who has quickly risen to becoming one of the best female adaptive skiers in the world, despite only taking the sport up three years ago.
New Zealand Paralympian, Adam Hall, who won gold in spectacular style at Vancouver, dominates the adaptive alpine skiing.
He is up against a strong team from the UK that includes World Cup silver medallist, Ian Bishop, who lost both his legs while in Afghanistan.
Adaptive snow sports were successfully integrated into the able bodied competition schedule at the inaugural Winter Games NZ in 2009, marking a world first for the two sets of athletes to compete together over the same course.
“We continue to believe no distinction should be made between any athletes that perform at the highest possible level, against the best in the world,” said Winter Games NZ CEO, Arthur Klap. “It worked really well in 2009 with athletes enjoying the concept. And so once again, adaptive and able bodied athletes will compete at the same time, on the same course.”
Athletes with a range of physical disabilities or visual impairment will compete. There are three classes of skiers – standing, sitting (using a specially mono ski) and visually impaired (who race with a guide).
In the cross-country disciplines adaptive athletes either ski on two Nordic skis or in a special ski chair with long poles – these athletes are particularly fit and strong. All are professional athletes who train and compete all year round.
100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games takes place from August 12th – 28th .
We have a related report here on PlanetSKI all about The Games.
They have now got underway after disruption caused by the severe weather in the country earlier this week. The biggest winter storm in New Zealand for 50 years.
With thanks to FIS for this article.
For the spirit of the mountains