NZ Disabled Ski Team Warms Up 16 Feb 1998


The New Zealand Disabled Ski Team looks set to beat the world at the upcoming Winter Paralympics in Nagano, if the results from the Breckenridge World Cup Finals in Colorado are anything to go by.

The New Zealanders have just finished two days of downhill training alongside teams from Australia, Austria, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa, Slovakia, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, and the USA. Over one hundred skiers are competing at the event, with many going on to Nagano, next month.

In the Men's Stand-up downhill, there were some great results from New Zealand despite temperatures below minus five degrees. Southlander, Mathew Butson (LW9) came first overall beating American Greg Mannino and Australian James Paterson, while Cantabrian Steven Bayley came seventh overall.

Divided into their race classes, Mathew Butson (LW9) came first with a time of 1.22.08 followed by Australian James Paterson and Paralympic gold medallist Austrian Arno Hirschbuhl. Butson will have to beat these two top contenders again in Nagano to take the gold.

Steve Bayley came first in the LW4 class with a time of 1.21.75, followed closely by Austrian Hubert Mandl and American Paul Martin. In the combined LW1 and LW3 class, Cantabrian, Kevin O'Sullivan gained third place just behind Slovak Josef Mistina and American Jacob Rife who will be his rivals in Japan, as well.

In the Women's competitions, Aucklander Sue Walker won the blind section Giant Slalom against Americans Theresa Fancher and Klaudia Birkner, while Cantabrian Rachael Battersby came fourth in her class (LW6). Walker also came second in the slalom and the Super-G.

The New Zealand team will travel to the Columbia Crest to train for two weeks before they head to Nagano on February 23.

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