Zealand Disabled Ski Team is shaping up well
in training competitions, and after intense
racing in North America, the team departs
for the Winter Paralympics at Nagano, Japan
today New Zealand time.
Arriving in Japan
early is a great opportunity for the skiers
to get used to the different ski conditions,
look over the mountain, adjust to the time
difference, and have some rest and
recuperation before the big event.
The ski team has just finished competing
in the Columbia Crest event against over 70
international skiers, including members of
the USA Paralympic ski team, the Canadian
development squad, and South Africa's first
Paralympian, Bruce Warner.
One of New Zealand's big medal hopefuls,
Steve Bayley, decided not to race in either
of the Super G events at Columbia Crest as
he had suffered an injury to his ankle. He
decided to rest his injury in order to be
fit for Nagano, but still did well in the
Giant Slalom and Slalom.
There were outstanding results from blind
skier Sue Walker and her guide Dave Gardiner
who came first in the Columbia Crest Super G
ahead of USA's Theresa Francher and her New
Zealand guide JP Wolfendean who failed to
finish the course.
The pair also came first in the Slalom
and Giant Slalom. Walker and Gardiner are
both feeling ready for Japan after
consistently skiing well in the USA.
Good results from the men's camp saw
Mathew Butson come in third and Kevin
O'Sullivan sixth in the Men's stand-up Super
Butson said of the Super G, "When I came
through the finish line I thought I had a
good run, a couple of the USA guys had
better runs and beat me, but I'm happy with