Charlie Leach determined to defend his Under-16 grand slalom crown - The Rugby Observer

Charlie Leach determined to defend his Under-16 grand slalom crown

Rugby Editorial 2nd Feb, 2017   0

SKIING: RUGBY skiing ace Charlie Leach knows just what it takes to taste English Alpine Ski Championship success, and the teenager is adamant he won’t be giving up his crown without a fight.

The 15-year-old came from behind to win last season’s Giant Slalom by more than a second in Bormio making him Under 16 champion despite not being the oldest in the discipline.

Leach will be among 350 of the best English Alpine skiers to descend on Bormio, Italy from February 11-17 for the 21st English Alpine Championships, organised by national governing body Snowsport England.

And with this being the tenth anniversary of the Championships being held in Bormio, Leach is determined to make his mark.




As well as trying to defend his Giant Slalom crown, the Rugby School student will be competing in Slalom and Super G categories, hopeful his success can continue across the board.

But with the pressure of being champion on his shoulders, Leach knows many of the other racers will have him in their sights, something he feels he can cope with out in Bormio.


“I’m definitely best suited to the Giant Slalom. Last season I won it so I’m hoping to do exactly the same this time, I have some high expectations of myself so I’m hoping to deliver,” he said.

Pressure

“There’s a lot of pressure on that, particularly competing across all the disciplines and balancing schoolwork, so you have to make sure you look after your time.

“I didn’t do quite so well in the other events last year, so I’m looking to add consistency to my racing, and do solid across the events.

“It was a really good atmosphere and I enjoy meeting the people I do through skiing.”

The English Alpine Championships are a week of national-level racing and skiing camaraderie, featuring the best English skiers in the country, ranging from Under 10s up to senior athletes.

The event continues to feature the rising stars of Alpine skiing in England, previously acting as a platform for the likes of Chemmy Alcott and Dave Ryding, who finished second in the alpine World Cup slalom in Kitzbuhel in January – Britain’s best result in 35 years.

And for Leach, that success is undoubtedly something he wants to tap into.

Having taken victory last year, the Ambition and Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre rider has been pushing to get even better, hopeful each competition he takes part in now will stand him in good stead for the future.

He added: “I got into skiing through my friend’s dad when I was about ten, I seemed to be quite good at it from early on, especially when I went to Ambition, and I kept improving as each year goes on.

“I’ve been doing lots of gym work when I’m not at the slopes, because Bormio is definitely up there as one of the highlights of my year and it’s one I’m always determined to do well at.

“The more experience I can get the better, I want to put myself at the top of my age group and keep myself there. Bormio is an excellent place to test myself and hopefully I can perform well heading into the rest of the year.”

Follow the English Alpine Championships on the Snowsport England Facebook page and get live updates on Twitter @SnowsportEng. Full results will be available at www.snowsportengland.org.uk while you can find your nearest slope offering value-for-money GO SKI GO BOARD sessions at www.goskigoboard.org.uk

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