Ski champ Menna in for top award
ATEENAGE sporting world champion from Tytherington has been shortlisted for a prestigious award by the Ski Club of Great Britain following her sensational winter season on the slopes.
Menna Fitzpatrick only turned 18 earlier this month. But several weeks prior to that she achieved two other significant – and, by anyone’s standards – particularly remarkable milestones.
For Menna, within just 22 days during March, won the Overall Women’s Visually Impaired World Cup alpine skiing title in Aspen, Colorado, before becoming Britain’s first Parasnowsport Champion.
And now the Media and Technology student at Macclesfield College is one of five young nominees for the 2016 Evie Pinching Award - a legacy of the 1930s British female alpine skier that celebrates the best up-andcoming winter sports talent the UK has to offer.
“It is a great honour to be nominated for this award,” said Menna, “and fantastic to see a Parasnowport athlete recognised in a very strong shortlist.
“Winning it would be a very special end to what has been an unbelievable season, and would be a real help on my way to the Paralympics in 2018.
‘Unbelievable’ can be an overused word in sport. And yet there is truly no better way to describe the progress made by Menna, whose original winter targets did not include entering the World Cup – let alone lifting the trophy – with her sighted guide Jennifer Kehoe.
But after making a speculative debut in the competition during January, the pair – who had only teamed together two months earlier – headed out to Aspen and went on to take the world by storm.
Menna became the first-ever British athlete to win the coveted World Cup Globe. And she was to travel home from Colorado laden with trophies and medals, having also become Giant Slalom World Champion and picked up a haul of three golds and three silvers.
If that were not enough, she and Jennifer rounded off an amazing first season together by venturing across the Channel to win the inaugural International Paralympic Committee Alpine Skiing (IPCAS) British National Championship in Tignes.
The 2016/17 campaign will bring with it new goals, ahead of their ultimate ambition to strike Winter Paralympic gold in South Korea two years hence.
“Our aim next season is to keep doing well,” explained Menna.
“There are the World Championships in Italy - and also the test event in Pyeongchang which will be fun.”
All the while, Menna’s profile continues to rise. Last month saw her attend ‘ParaSnowBall’ - Disability Snowsport UK’s annual fundraising event - at London’s Hurlingham Club, where Pippa Middleton was guest speaker. And being on the Ski Club’s shortlist of this year’s athletes ‘to watch’ has unsurprisingly brought further welcome exposure.
“It’s very exciting that people are starting to pick up on what I’ve been doing,” she added.
“But it’s also good to get publicity for disabled skiing in general.”
The pioneering Ms Pinching would surely have been very proud.
Voting for the award remains open to the public until midnight tomorrow (May 26). For more information and to vote for Menna visit www.skiclub. co. uk/ eviepinchingaward
●● Tytherington world champion Menna Fitzpatrick