‘Definitely a big deal’: Richmond teen scoops first national skiing title at English Alpine Championships
Richmond’s Amber Buckland admitted she could not believe her success after scooping her first ever national skiing title at the English Alpine Championships in Bormio.
The English Alpine Championships, organised by national governing body Snowsport England, help provide an early glimpse of the stars of tomorrow with British Olympians Chemmy Alcott and Dave Ryding both having competed at the competition.
And with 400 of the country’s best alpine skiers descending upon the Italian resort this week for the 20th running of the event, Buckland – who trains with the British Ski Academy – had her work cut out for her.
But despite being one of the younger riders in the under-21 category, the 19-year-old surged to victory in Wednesday’s fog-affected giant slalom race, finishing as the highest-ranked English racer in a talented international field.
And after another two podium finishes in the slalom competition earlier in the week, Buckland believes her first ever English title was the icing on the cake.
“My first run was good but my second wasn’t as I made quite a big mistake in the middle,” said the former Surbiton High School student.
“But I had to spend a long time in the start gate as we waited for the fog to clear, so all things considered it was definitely alright.
“I was just trying to go from gate to gate as of course the visibility wasn’t the best, and I got a bit late towards the end but that is to be expected.
“Another podium finish after my first one ever is great, and to come as the top English skier is a really brilliant surprise.
“I really wasn’t expecting that and it is amazing. My first national title is definitely a big deal.”
Meanwhile another London racer, Katya Bingle-Williams, finished off her English Alpine Championship campaign on a high with her first podium finish of the week in the under-18s giant slalom race.
The 16-year-old from Kensington finished as the third-highest English racer, and would have been second but for a brilliant second run from Francesca Lee.
And after taking a year away from the sport, Bingle-Williams insists being able to still cut the mustard at the highest level is a very satisfying feeling.
She said: “The race was ok. It was tough with the weather but that doesn’t come into your mind too much once you get onto the course.
“It’s good to get my first podium of the week here. I had a year out last year so I wasn’t racing, and it feels great to come back and still be good enough to get a podium.
“It’s been a really good Championships to come to. It always runs really smoothly, even if everything hasn’t gone to plan for me given I crashed out of both slalom races, but the GS was good and I’m glad to finish on a high.”
The English Alpine Championships, organised by Snowsport England, are run every year in the Italian resort of Bormio. Follow the action via www.englishalpinechamps.org.uk or @SnowsportEng on Twitter.
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