Menna Fitzpatrick: Welsh Para-skier set for world title bid

Menna Fitzpatrick and Jenifer Kehoe
Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe struck gold at the 2016 IPC World Cup in Aspen

Welsh skier Menna Fitzpatrick is confident after recovering from injury for the World Para Alpine Skiing championships in Tarvisio, Italy.

The 18-year old competes in the visually impaired category with guide Jennifer Kehoe on Saturday.

Fittzpatrick admits it has been a challenge to recover from the broken hand she suffered at the end of 2016.

"It's not the best way to start a season but you've just got to get on with it," she said.

"The first couple of races we were a bit cautious but the last few races we've been a lot better.

"I think we can go for on the weekend and put in our best performance."

"The world championships get more viewers. It's nice to show people what we do and what standard we ski at."

Keeping in touch by Bluetooth

Fitzpatrick has overall vision of less than 5% and works very closely with her guide in training and competitions.

"We have Bluetooth communication on our headsets," explained Fitzpatrick.

"She [Kehoe] tells me when to turn, whether the hills icy or soft but she also tells me when the gates are so she has to think about a lot.

"You have to be able trust them to take you in the right direction at 60 miles an hour.

Kehoe has been working with Menna for just under 16 months but says it's already developed into a unique relationship.

"If Menna doesn't trust me to give her the right directions then she's not going to be as confident to ski as fast as she can," said Kehoe.

"If I don't trust that she's going to do what I'm asking of her then there might be a crash for both of us."

The Macclesfield-based Fitzpatrick made history when she became the first British snow sports athlete to win a World Cup Visually Impaired title at the 2016 IPC World Cup in Aspen.

Top Stories