SKIING: Jade hunting history after Winter Paralympics call

MEDAL HOPE: Jade Etherington will compete in the Winter Paralympic Games.
MEDAL HOPE: Jade Etherington will compete in the Winter Paralympic Games.

Bourne skier Jade Etherington is on-target for her ultimate goal after being selected for the Team GB squad at the Winter Paralympic Games.

Etherington, who is partially-sighted having been born with Axenfield’s syndrome, is Britain’s number one in the alpine speed event ‘ski racer’.

She was selected for the squad on Thursday, meaning the former Deepings School pupil will jet off to Sochi in Russia for the March games.

With only five per cent vision in both eyes, the 22-year-old competes as part of a team with guide Caroline Powell, who skis in front of her to give radio directions.

Speaking to the Free Press in 2012, Etherington set herself the target of becoming the first Briton to win an alpine ski racing Paralympics medal.

Since then she has gone from strength to strength and won a bronze medal in the 2013 World Championships.

She has also reached the medal podium an amazing 28 times in 32 races.

More recently, Etherington and Powell were just one-hundredth of a second away from winning gold in the slalom race at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup at Copper Mountain, Colorado in the USA last Saturday.

The pair took silver, behind Russia’s Paralympic medal hopeful Alexandra Frantseva and guide Pavel Zabotin, to add to a bronze in the Giant Slalom discipline at the same meeting.

Having graduated from Bishop Grosseteste University two years ago with a degree in Education and Geography, Etherington has been a success both on and off the slope.

And one of her former teachers is backing her to bring back a historic medal.

“Jade is not only an inspirational athlete but an inspiration to everyone she meets,” said Graham Meeson, Head of Education and Learning at Bishop Grosseteste University. “Her attitude and the way she has handled steadily losing her eyesight is a testament to her character.

“She has demonstrated that there really is no barrier that can prevent you achieving your goals and competing at the highest level.

“We’ll be following her progress in Sochi and we really hope to see her back in Lincoln with a gold medal!”

The Winter Paralympics run from March 7 to March 16 and will be televised by Channel Four. In the meantime, you can keep up to date with Etheringon’s progress by following her on social networking site Twitter. Her handle is @raceyjadeski.