It was truly inspirational hearing Paralympic Skier Anna Turney talk today. Anna told her story which she called 'Obstacles or Opportunities?'
The children were spellbound as Anna explained how until the age of 26 she had been able-bodied just like them and how her dream had been to compete in the sport that she loved - snowboarding and to compete at a high standard. She told them how she moved first to France and then to Japan training and practising on the slopes as much as she could. Then she told them how just as she was beginning to reach a good level and could see that her dream might possibly become a reality she took a nasty fall on the slopes in Japan where she broke her back leaving her paralysed from the waist down.
Anna, however was determined and refused to see this as the end of her slopes experience and fought hard to train to monoski and in 2007 she was accepted into the British Disabled Ski Team (BDST).Within a year she made her debut for the British team when she made her GB debut at the NORAM races in Canada. The next year Turney was competing at the highest level and was selected for Great Britain the 2009 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in South Korea, finishing fourth in the giant slalom.
In 2010 Turney was part of the Great Britain team that travelled to Vancouver to participate in her first Winter paralympics. Turney stated in a 2014 interview that she was sent to the Games mainly to build her experience, but managed a sixth place in the slalom when ranked 16th.The next year she was back in the Great Britain team, this time at Sestriere in Italy at the 2011 World Championships. Although failing to finish in the sitting slalom, Turney finished fourth in the giant slalom.
Listening to Anna was utterly enthralling and inspiring as she encouraged the children to dream big and aim high.