Oakham ski star fighting to be English champion

Oakham School skier Seamus O'Brien EMN-160902-094304001
Oakham School skier Seamus O'Brien EMN-160902-094304001

Oakham skier Seamus O’Brien claims past disappointments are spurring him on this year as he gears up for this month’s English Alpine Championships.

O’Brien will be one of 350 of the country’s best alpine skiers to descend upon the Italian resort of Bormio from February 13-19 for the 20th English Alpine Championships, organised by national governing body Snowsport England.

The 13-year-old is a regular at the Championships and will be competing in the Under-14 slalom and giant slalom this time around – targeting a high finish in both.

O’Brien’s main preparation for the event came at the Ambition Championships in Austria last month where, by his own admission, his results were mixed.

But the Oakham School pupil has been taking the positives from that heading into the English Alpine Championships and is desperate to go well in Bormio.

“I’ve been to the English Champs a few times in the past. One of the first times I was there I came first but had it taken off me, which was annoying, but then last year I didn’t do very well,” explained O’Brien.

“I crashed in some runs and didn’t ski very well in other runs, so I want to do better this time around.

“I did ok in the races at the Ambition Champs recently, so I think I can perform well now in Bormio.

“I didn’t do brilliantly on the first day at the Ambition Champs as I came fifth but I skied better on the second day to come second before crashing on the last two days.

“I don’t really let it bother me when I crash though, I bounce back quite quickly and I’ve been training well.

“I’m definitely looking for a top three in the slalom and then possibly a top four in the giant slalom.”

The English Alpine Championships help provide an early glimpse of the stars of tomorrow with British Olympians Chemmy Alcott and Dave Ryding both having competed at the competition.

O’Brien, who is part of Team Evolution, acknowledges it is a Championship he always targets, but isn’t putting pressure on himself to emulate the likes of Alcott and Ryding in the long-term.

“I’ve been racing since I was seven but I’ve been skiing since I was four,” he added. “I don’t really have any sort of goals or ambitions in the long-term but obviously I’d like to do as well as I can in the sport.

“The English Champs is a competition I always look forward to and it’s the one I’ve been doing the longest. I quite like it.”

Follow the English Alpine Championships, organised by Snowsport England, via www.englishalpinechamps.org.uk or @SnowsportEng on Twitter.

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