Paralympics dream of blind skier Jade

Paralymipc ski hopeful Jade Etherington
Paralymipc ski hopeful Jade Etherington
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A SKIER has appealed for sponsorship to help achieve her dream of going to the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Jade Etherington, 20 from Bourne, was born with Axenfield’s syndrome, a genetic condition that causes fluid blockages in the eye.

She had six eye operations before the age of 12 and began to lose her sight permanently three years ago.

But Jade was always a keen skier and was determined not to let her sight loss get in the way.

Her mother Amber was also born with Axenfield’s and has been blind since the aged of 13, but skis with her husband Andrew as a guide.

Andrew began guiding Jade as well, but she soon surpassed his ability and needed a new partner.

Luckily she met Fiona Gingell during pre-season training in October and the pair gelled instantly.

Jade said: “It feels like a real achievement finally finding Fiona, who I can work really well with.

“We bonded quickly which hopefully shows how much potential we could really have.”

The former Deepings School pupil competed for Team GB’s development team at the Paralympic Winter World Cup in Sollefteå, Sweden in February and won one gold and three silver medals.

She also won silver in the giant slalom and bronze in the slalom in the Swiss Nationals earlier this year but needs sponsorship to help her train and compete in more high standard events around the world.

This would help her reach her goal of qualifying for Team GB and skiing at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Jade said: “If I do not find extra help Fiona and I won’t be able to carry on skiing and carry on winning medals for Great Britain.

“If I can find some help next season I will be racing more, maybe trying some speed events such as the super giant slalom and downhill.

“My aim is to get in the top 10 in the world in slalom and giant slalom.

“Then I can continue to race and ski with the team and qualify to compete in Sochi, which would be amazing.”

The 1,000 day countdown until the 2014 winter games begins tomorrow but for now Jade is focused on summer training and developing her understanding with Fiona.

She is also studying for an education studies and geography degree at Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln.

Jade added: “My plans for the summer mainly involve gym training and building up fitness and booking to meet Fiona, who lives in Scotland, for a weekend of ski training at the indoor slopes.”

For further information about how to sponsor Jade, please telephone 01778 395300 or e-mail admin@jade-ski.com.