SKIING: Jubilant Jade races to maiden downhill gold

GOLDEN GIRL: Jade Etherington (left). Photo courtesy DSUSA (Reed Hoffmann)
GOLDEN GIRL: Jade Etherington (left). Photo courtesy DSUSA (Reed Hoffmann)
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Partially-sighted Bourne ski star Jade Etherington has capped a perfect week by winning her first IPC World Cup downhill gold medal.

Winter Paralympics-bound Etherington and her guide Caroline Powell – who skis in front of her to give radio directions – took top spot at Tignes in France on Tuesday.

The pair finished more than two seconds ahead of the United States’ wife and husband combination Danelle and Robert Umstead in a performance that is sure to give them real encouragement ahead of the Sochi Games in March.

The 22-year-old former Deepings School pupil said: “Today (Tuesday) was our first time racing a Downhill together, so was going to be a big day.

“Our training run was scary but we learnt from our mistakes and skied the race run better.

“We finished in first place – winning my first ever World Cup gold.”

Etherington was selected as one of just 15 athletes to represent Great Britain in the winter Paralympic Games last Thursday.

She competes in the visually impaired giant slalom, having been born with Axenfield’s syndrome, a genetic condition that causes fluid blockages in the eye and can lead to total blindness.

She currently has around five per cent vision in each eye.