Paralympics GB alpine skier Millie Knight speaks of her amazement at being named in the squad for Sochi Games the week after 15th birthday
Millie Knight. Picture: Jason Dodd.
Britain’s youngest ever Winter Paralympian Millie Knight admits she was overwhelmed to be named in GB’s alpine skiing squad for the Sochi Games in March.
The visually-impaired skier from Canterbury only turned 15 – the qualifying age for the Games – on January 15 and was the shock name in the GB squad for the trip to Russia.
The King’s School pupil competes in the B2 category for partially-sighted athletes, having only 5% peripheral vision in her right eye and between 10-20% in her left after suffering a rare eye condition during childhood.
Knight said: “It’s amazing. I never had it in my head that I would be going. Even when I was included on the long list I kept telling myself it wouldn’t happen. I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
“I thought it would be easier to think like that and then anything else would be a nice surprise.”
She added: “I had no hint at all that I was selected. I had been training away with the people for a month and nobody said anything.
“I was at an indoor rowing competition at school and got a call saying ‘you’re in’. I don’t think I said anything – I was speechless.”
Knight and her guide Rachael Ferrier are outsiders for a medal in the giant slalom, although GB team-mate Kelly Gallagher and her guide, Medway’s Charlotte Evans are tipped to challenge for GB’s first ever winter Paralympic gold medal.
Knight said: “I don’t feel any pressure. I am not going there thinking about medals. I’ll just do as well as I can but the margin for error is small and you never know what might happen...”
Knight revealed the magnitude of her achievement did not hit home until the official team unveiling in Glasgow last Thursday.
She said: “It didn’t really sink in until then. I am not sure how to describe it... it was quite overwhelming.
“We were given eight massive bags of GB kit... it was like Christmas.”
Knight has two Europa Cup races to come in Austria before she departs for Russia on February 28.
She added: “I don’t really know what to expect. This is going to be great experience for me and that’s why I was chosen – so that at future competitions and in 2018 (in South Korea), I have the experience under my belt and I can just focus on the competition.”
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