Para-skiing Worlds: Millie Knight aims to 'fly the flag' for Britain

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Millie Knight
Visually impaired skier Millie Knight was the flag bearer for ParalympicsGB at the 2014 Sochi opening ceremony
IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships
Venue: Panorama, Canada Date: 4-12 March Coverage: Reports on the BBC Sport website. Live streaming on the IPC website.

Skier Millie Knight hopes to 'step up' her performances for Britain at the IPC World Championships, in the absence of Paralympic champion Kelly Gallagher.

The Sochi gold medallist ruled herself out of this week's event in Panorama, Canada, after her guide Charlotte Evans failed to recover from concussion.

Visually impaired Knight, 16, became GB's youngest-ever Winter Paralympian by competing in last year's Games.

"We want to fly the flag for Great Britain," she told BBC Sport.

"We really do miss Kelly and Charlotte because they are great people to have around the team, but we want to keep Britain on the skiing map."

Millie Knight on 'inspirational' team-mates
"Both Kelly Gallagher and Jade Etherington have been great with me since I joined the team. Kelly has taught me lots of things like racing technique while Jade helped me loads on communication with my guide, so they have both been brilliant mentors."

Knight, who was the flag bearer for ParalympicsGB at last year's Games, was partnered by Rachael Ferrier in Sochi, but she has now enrolled in a university course and no longer races.

The teenager has been reunited with previous guide Jennifer Kehoe, who recovered from a knee ligament injury and the pair have enjoyed a dominant seasonexternal-link on the second-tier Europa Cup circuit.

Their achievements enabled them to qualify for the World Cup tour, where they won two races.external-link

"We've been really successful and really enjoyed skiing together again - hopefully it can continue," said Knight.

Mille Knight on GB flagbearer 'honour'

The British disabled ski team won five medals at the 2014 Winter Paralympics and were rewarded with a £2.3m boost in UK Sport funding.

Despite the loss of Jade Etherington, who quit after a perceived 'lack of support' from the governing body, Knight insists the GB setup is getting the best out of their athletes.

"The coaches and support staff have been amazing," said the skier.

"They've worked us hard in the gym and on the slopes but we have learnt so much and are now a lot stronger both physically and mentally."

Knight is too young to compete in the speed events such as the downhill races and will instead focus on 'technical' disciplines - Giant Slalom [8 March] and Slalom [10 March].

"The Giant slalom is definitely my favourite," said Knight, who will be allowed to race in all events from next season.

"I have tried speed-skis on in training though and they were amazing - I can't wait to try that out more in the summer."

She is joined in the World Championship team by Mick Brennan, Ben Sneesby, James Whitby, Chris Lloyd and Benji Millard.

Millie Knight
Millie Knight finished fifth in the slalom events at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics

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