Field and Hall can’t resist first crack taking on able-bodied rivals
Queenstown-based Paralympian Anthony Field was lured back to competitive skiing by the chance to race alongside able-bodied counterparts at the New Zealand Winter Games.
Field bowed out on a high after being the NZ flag bearer at the 2006 Winter Paralympics in Turin, Italy.
But the 28-year-old – who works as a ski instructor at Coronet Peak – has returned from self-imposed exile to go for glory in his own backyard.
“When I heard a major competition was having the adaptive events mixed in with the regular racing for the first time, I thought it was a great idea and decided to get back into training,” Field says.
“Also, the fact that the Games are being staged on my home turf made it all a bit too irresistible.”
Field – who lost his right arm at the age of eight after a car crashed into him while he was playing cricket on the road – will ski in the super G and giant slalom.
“I’ve been away from competition for a bit so while a medal would be nice, it’s not my main goal,” he says.
“I want to see how I do against the able-bodied skiers and check how my times compare.
“But I do have a bit of an advantage in that both my events are at Coronet Peak, which is my home mountain.
I must have skied those slopes a million times.”
Joining Field in the Kiwi adaptive alpine skiing squad is Wanaka’s Adam Hall, the world No 2 in slalom, and Peter Williams, 25, of Auckland.
Auckland schoolteacher Joanna Dominick, 27, will also be on a sit-ski in the cross-country sprint, classed as a Nordic event.
They’ll do battle with top-ranked adaptive rivals from Australia, Germany and Great Britain competing in three categories – standing, sitting and visually impaired.
Adaptive skiers and able-bodied athletes will race together on the same course in the super G and giant slalom events at Coronet Peak on Tuesday and next Friday.
The adaptive slalom race is on August 29, also at Coronet Peak, a day before the able-bodied event but on the same course.
Hot Kiwi medal hope Hall, 21, reckons disabled sports will get a real boost from the extra exposure.
“It’s nice to be part of a world first and it’s good for us to get that recognition for what we do,” he says.
“We’re all human – it’s just that some of us have different engines.”
Day for disabled
The Remarkables is to host an open day for disabled snowsporters on September 5.
Through its Adaptive Programme, the ski area encourages anyone with a disability to register for the session – which offers a free lift pass, equipment rental, lesson and volunteer support.
There’s also a 50 per cent discount on lift passes or tubing for a participant’s immediate family members or full-time caregivers.
“We have instructors specially trained to teach the programme and top-of-the-range equipment and techniques to help everyone,” says coordinator Ross James. “Whether it’s a visual, intellectual or physical disability, we can assist anyone to get out on to the slopes.”