Teen ski-racer set England debut

TOM Jarrold is hitting the gym ahead of his debut season in the England Alpine Ski Racing Team.

Stuart Watson

TOM Jarrold is hitting the gym ahead of his debut season in the England Alpine Ski Racing Team.

The 15-year-old Framlingham College student, who lives at Hoxne, near Diss, is the youngest member of the England Under-18 junior race team.

But his national team coach has warned him that his fitness levels will need to reach a new level if he is to survive the step up from U15 children's level to U18 junior competition.

England coach Mike Barker said: “Before being accepted into the England team all athletes had to pass a stringent series of fitness tests, specially designed to make sure they are in the best possible condition when they arrive for their races.

“The biggest difference racers like Tom will find, stepping up from children's level, is the high intensity of racing at junior level and the longer distances they have to race. So stamina and high fitness levels are vital.”

Most Read

As a result, Jarrold is up at 6.15am in the morning and is in the school gym by 6.30am for a strenuous 50 minutes work out. Then, after a shower and breakfast, it's on to a full day of lessons.

“Since it is my GCSE year it is a demanding time,” said Jarrold. “I also have to build up my strength and agility in order to maintain the high levels of fitness required by England.”

During last summer Jarrold attended Loughborough University for specialised fitness testing and, along with other ski racers, practise weekends at the Chill Factore indoor ski centre in Manchester.

It was there that the England squad gathered recently for an official media launch and practise session ahead of the new winter season. Helly Hansen are the official kit suppliers to the England Junior, Collegiate and full-time development squads.

Jarrold flies out to Norway this month for his first series of international races. The day he returns he has to settle down to mock GCSE examinations.

In February he will be competing in the English Championships in Italy, while in March he will travel to France for the British Championships.

It is an expensive business, especially when each skier has to fund all of their equipment, travel and training costs which amount to over �7,000 per season.

Jarrold has already received some grants towards his ski racing costs from the Suffolk SportsAid Foundation, the Maynard Educational Trust, based in Hoxne, his school and the Old Framlinghamians Association, however, he is still short of the total that would enable him to complete his debut year at England junior level.

He said: “I am very grateful to those who have assisted me but I still need to raise several thousand more pounds in order to complete the season.

“In view of the recession I understand how difficult it is for local firms to provide sponsorship, but if anyone could help at whatever level I would like to hear from them.”

Anyone wishing to help Jarrold's cause can e-mail him at: scoop.sj@tiscali.co.uk , or call: 01379 668317.