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Guide Powell pushing for Winter Paralympics

PUBLISHED: 15:30 24 January 2014

Caroline Powell

Caroline Powell

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Former Coopers pupil teams up with blind skier

After a bumpy start Upminster alpine skier Caroline Powell insists she and Jade Etherington are well and truly on the road to the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics.

Former Coopers pupil Powell, 19, came to Etherington’s rescue at just the right time over the summer after the visually impaired skier was forced to start the season without a guide.

And since the two have joined forces they haven’t looked back, returning from the NOR-AM Cup in America last month with four golds, two silvers and two bronze medals to show for their efforts.

Powell and Etherington quickly backed that up with three victories in four days in Pitztal recently – in giant slalom, Super-G and slalom.

And Powell is convinced they are heading in the right direction with Sochi 2014 fast approaching, even if that wasn’t always the case when they paired up.

“The partnership has definitely had its difficulties at the beginning, but we’ve established each other’s roles in the relationship and it’s now working well,” she said.

“We’re now definitely on the road qualifying-wise to Sochi. Early on we had to learn to be honest with each other and establish at what points we need to stop talking to each other.

“But we’ve definitely grown as friends now rather than just ski partners and I think that bonding has really helped our skiing.

“I’ve learnt to read Jade and her emotions so can help her in the build-up to a race. I’ve been a guide since June and in August I took my first trip to a camp.

“I was introduced to Jade in Manchester in June and we did a trial run and I loved it and haven’t looked back.”

From the ages of nine to 14, Powell was an able-bodied alpine skiing racer before she turned her attentions towards instructing.

And, although she had dreams of representing Great Britain herself, Powell insists she would be more than happy to do so as a guide for Etherington.

“I love guiding and I want to achieve the best possible result from the position that we’re in,” she added.

“As a guide I work on snow and off snow. We’re in the gym all the time we’re off the slopes. It’s a full-time position, but it’s great to be able to work alongside Jade and build our relationship.

“Skiing has been a big part of my life from a very young age. I almost learnt to ski before I could walk so to be able to represent Great Britain alongside Jade at the Paralympics would be a huge honour.

“I think it would be amazing to be able to introduce skiing in Great Britain to people who don’t usually associate Great Britain with ski racing.”

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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