Max­o­ni­ans play part in Menna’s win

Macclesfield Express - - SEARCH - SKI­ING GARETH EVANS

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.

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