'Drive' sets pupil on path

Bayfield High School pupil Samuel Tate, of Broad Bay, has been selected to attend a week-long Outward Bound leadership course, which starts today. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Bayfield High School pupil Samuel Tate, of Broad Bay, has been selected to attend a week-long Outward Bound leadership course, which starts today. Photo by Linda Robertson.
A Dunedin schoolboy will miss the opening weekend of the ski season today to attend an Outward Bound course to help him carve a path to the Paralympics.

Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Otago and Southland adviser Bridget Meyer said it was the first time the foundation had selected 10 disabled New Zealand high school pupils to attend a week-long Outward Bound course in the Queen Charlotte Sound. The course starts today.

The trust targeted teenagers it believed were future leaders and selected Queen's High School athlete Kirsten Read (17) and Bayfield High School pupil skier Samuel Tate (16).

Snow Sports NZ adaptive manager Jane Stevens said Samuel was placed on a pathway to become a future Paralympian because of his ''drive, determination and commitment''. Snow Sports took him to Colorado in November last year for nearly a month of ''full-on'' training at Winter Park Resort.

Samuel laughed about meeting Ms Stevens for the first time, when she bluntly asked ''what's wrong with you?''

Samuel said his arm was paralysed and withered and he skied with one ski pole, which he used on both sides of his body.

But as his skiing speeds increased, the technique was getting more difficult to execute, he said.

Snow Sports wants him to race in Colorado in November, so the former British resident recently become a citizen to represent New Zealand in slalom, giant slalom and super giant slalom.

Fearlessness was necessary for competition, he said.

''Some of these Paralympians, they haven't got much else to lose bodily wise. They're not fearful.''

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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