Maxonians play part in Menna’s win
TYTHERINGTON teenager Menna Fitzpatrick has rounded off her incredibly successful winter season by winning a major national award for up-and-coming snow sports athletes.
And having taken the world by storm earlier this year to win national and international titles, the 18-year-old alpine skier owes her latest prize in part to fellow Maxonians!
Menna, during three sensational weeks in March, became the first-ever British athlete to win the Overall Women’s Visually Impaired World Cup Globe, before triumphing at the inaugural British National Parasnowsport Championship.
Now, after being nominated by Snowsport Wales and then shortlisted with four other young, high-achieving nominees by the Ski Club of Great Britain, the Macclesfield College student, and former pupil at Prestbury Primary School and Fallibroome Academy, has topped a public vote to claim the Evie Pinching emerging talent award for 2016.
The two-week voting period saw an outpouring of support for Menna from the local community - and from much further afield - as she did battle at the poll against fellow candidates who, unlike her, could enlist the help of agents and PR officers.
“I am over the moon to have won this award,” said Menna on hearing the result.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for me. It was amazing to receive messages of support from around the world - as far away as India, South Africa and Australia.
“And it was great to get such a fantastic response from the people of Macclesfield. I am really grateful to the College, to the teachers and students at Prestbury and Fallibroome, as well as to many others around here for making a special effort to vote.”
The Evie Pinching award, which will be formally presented to Menna later this year, carries with it a £1,000 bursary to help meet the costs of her training and competitions all over the world.
Frank McCusker, Chief Executive of the Ski Club of Great Britain, commented: “Congratulations to Menna in clinching the award amongst a very strong shortlist of promising athletes.
“We hope that the bursary helps her continued development and success for the future.”
There is also every hope that the publicity around Menna’s achievements to date will generate additional sponsorship, as she and her sighted guide Jennifer Kehoe work towards their ultimate ambition of travelling to South Korea and striking gold in the 2018 Winter Paralympics.
But even with those Games two years away, the pair will know there is no time to ease off. Summer is to involve a solid block of training at camps in Norway and Austria, before Menna and Jennifer compete next season at the World Championships in Italy.
They are also due during 2016/17 to visit the Paralympic venue in Pyeongchang for a test event. And, on returning to that site for the Games the following season, Menna will be sure to recall her meeting several years ago with one of Britain’s greatest-ever Olympians.
“I met Sir Steve Redgrave when I was 11 or 12 and competing in the Crystal Ski Fest,” she explained.
“My goal then became to get my very own gold medal - just like his.”
In only two winters’ time – and fewer than ten following that memorable encounter – she may very well do just that.