British Paralympic skiing prospect Etherington pleas for a new guide

By Nick HopeBBC Paralympic sports reporter
Jade Etherington (centre)
Visually impaired British skier Jade Etherington (centre) has won 26 medals in 28 races since beginning competitive racing in 2011

British Winter Paralympic medal prospect Jade Etherington fears missing the 2014 Games after losing her guide.

Two athletes offered to help visually impaired Etherington, 21, after an appeal via Facebook in November, but both have since backed out.

The skier has won 26 medals in 28 races and could confirm her place in Sochi with a podium finish in February's World Championships.

"It's really frustrating because I know I can win races," said Etherington.

Etherington, who joined the British Disability Ski Team development group in 2010, but parted with her original guide, Fiona Gingell, in October 2012.

Scottish skier Cammy Gunn was supposed to team up with Etherington until the middle of January. Another guide was due to take overexternal-link at the end of the month. However, both changed their plans after being offered work elsewhere.

"I've sent out adverts saying they can just do the World Championships [in La Molina, Spain - 20-27 February] because that's my only opportunity to qualify directly. If I were to finish on the podium at that level, it would mean I could apply for UK Sport funding in March," Etherington told BBC Sport.

Heather Mills' Paralympic dream

Etherington receives some funding from the Talented Athlete Support Schemeexternal-link but admits additional finance could make a significant difference to her prospects.

"I had to book the accommodation in advance for my last two World Cup races, which cost around £1,000, and I didn't get the money back when I didn't have a guide to compete there," said the skier, who has glaucoma and began to lose her sight three years ago.

"I would ideally need an ex-racer because they would know what they were doing in a race and then would have more time to focus on guiding me," said the skier.

Anyone interested in assisting Etherington can contact her via her website.external-link