Gold in Poland

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Continuing our Eastern Europe road trip from Krakow we arrived in Krnica Zdroj mid afternoon. At the race meeting we learnt that the next days race was going to be a good pointer as the whole of the polish team were there as it was their National Championships.

The next day we woke up to dreary weather and set off to the ski resort for the competition. Even though the course was only 3km away, we did not manage to find it and had to ask for directions from a petrol station on the main road, the reason being that the resort was not signposted from the road, and there was nothing indicating that an event was being held there. The surprises did not stop there, the was a giant slalom section in the course, and then a sketchy 70m straight section into a couple of kickers! This was not one of the best run events that we have been to this season! Everything ran smoothly though and we we done with both our qualifying runs by 1.30pm. The most difficult was trying to decipher the Polish speaker who would not tell us our times in English!

I qualified in 6th position putting me in a solid place for the heats. Myles McNeany and Marlies Neunner also qualified for the heats and finished 12th and 7th respectively, which was a good result considering the points in play.

In the semi finals, I went up against Ligocki and and stayed ahead till half way down the course, where he got past me. I moved into the finals in a good state of mind and was ready for a good battle.

The finals started in a good hearted fashion, and Ligocki and Jodko took off ahead and were at each others throats into the GS section. I had a bad start and was quite far behind watching it unfold. At the first GS gate Ligocki overtook his teammate and took the lead home, I managed third place, which I was pretty happy with given the people there. Thanks to this I now have 100FIS points the first requirement for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The second day they had made a few changes to the track and had added a few more GS gates making the straight line to the kickers slightly less dangerous! it was also raining which made it feel pretty cold and miserable especially with the drab surroundings. Most of the polish team had left for the university championships, and I managed to improve my time on the course by 2 seconds and took the lead of the qualifying by just under a second which I was happy with!

The heats were chilled until the finals, Myles and Tom Akass both came out in the first round, it turned out not to be their event, but Marlies rocked the girls final, coming third. All that remained was my final. In the starts I got streamlined by two polish, who got out ahead, but I managed to come back in the first turns and overtook the first just above the GS section on some rollers, and then went hard after the next guy, I came full speed into the last banked turn and powered through the rollers, and managed to finish just ahead, but we were so close the organizers had to check on the video feed of the finish line.

I am happy as this is my fist victory in a FIS event. All that remained was our 18 hour journey back to morzine for a week training before the World Cup in Valmalenco Italy.

Thanks to Norton Rose group, TASS, the BSS and The Skiers Trust.

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