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Powell pushing for Paralympic glory

Guide Caroline Powell (left) and visually impaired skier Jade Etherington have won three medals so far at the Winter Paralympics in Sochi (pic: Danny Lawson/PA) Guide Caroline Powell (left) and visually impaired skier Jade Etherington have won three medals so far at the Winter Paralympics in Sochi (pic: Danny Lawson/PA)

Friday, March 7, 2014
10:30 AM

Former Coopers pupil ready for action in Russia

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Former Coopers pupil Caroline Powell is normally the one guiding visually impaired skier Jade Etherington down the slopes but she intends to lean on her partner just as much when they make their Paralympics debut this month.

Having only teamed up with Etherington last April, 19-year-old Powell did not get to benefit from scouting the Sochi course at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup finals last year.

But she needn’t worry as with her partner skiing to downhill silver alongside former guide John Clark, there is already plenty to build on.

Etherington and Powell go into the Winter Games full of confidence having already taken five World Cup podium finishes in 2014 alone, including two downhill golds in Tignes, France.

It was their first two World Cup titles together and came shortly after the news of being picked as part of the seven-strong Great Britain ski team for the Paralympics.

And with the big event starting today, Powell is intent on keeping her cool in Russia.

“I reckon we will be nervous when we get to the start line but that is normal for a race of that size,” said Powell.

“It’s still a race at the end of the day, we just need to perform like we would do any other.

“I know Jade has been to the test event last year and has skied on the slope which will be helpful. I have never been to Russia before, I’m excited to feel the atmosphere.

“We will just try and get our heads down and concentrate on our performance and hope success can come after that.

“I have been racing since I was nine but skiing since I was two, I just love to ski. It’s great that I know get a chance to be a part of something as special as the Paralympics.”

Powell and the rest of the skiers will be joined in Russia by a five-strong wheelchair curling team with Britain competing in two of the five sports taking place.

They will be led by chef de mission Penny Briscoe MBE, herself a veteran of seven summer and winter Olympics and Paralympics, and she was quick to tip Powell and Etherington to step up to the mark on their Games debut.

“I think it’s fair to say this would be the most professional and the best prepared Winter Paralympics team going to a Games representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” said Briscoe.

“I think it’s a really exciting team, it’s a mix of first time Paralympians and those who have been to previous games.

“With the guys up the hill on the snow, they’ve had a great season so far, the likes of Jade Etherington led by Caroline.

“Those guys are not just going there to make up the numbers, they’ve earned their place on the team.”

n Sainsbury’s is a proud long-term supporter of the British Paralympic Association and a champion of inclusive sport for all.

For more information on Sainsbury’s commitment to inclusive sport visit: www.Sainsburys.co.uk/activekids.

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