We just have different engines

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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.”