Menna Fitz The Bill Ahead Of Winter Paralympics
TASS alumna Menna Fitzpatrick is determined to overcome the absence of trusted guide Katie Guest and taste glory in Beijing this month.
The 23-year-old headed to China as one of Team GB’s top prospects for medal success following a dazzling Paralympic debut in Pyeongchang four years ago.
But visually impaired alpine skier Menna must chase her dreams without Katie by her side following a last-gasp change of plans.
The duo stormed to victory in Norway last year to win a 2021 world title.
But Katie has failed to shake the after-effects of Covid after contracting the virus last month and Menna has been forced to strike up a new partnership with Gary Smith.
“I’m gutted for Katie because I know how much she was looking forward to her first Paralympics,” said Menna in her latest column for BBC Sport.
“I just wanted to share it with her because I know how epic my experience was in Pyeongchang four years ago when I made my debut.
“I really feel for her back home, sitting around watching something that she could have been a part of.
“But I’ve got to focus on what I’m doing and get ready to perform as best I can. Sometimes you’ve just got to be a little bit selfish.
“I’ll now be guided by Gary, whom I have trained a lot with — and raced with during the 2019-20 season.”
Menna and Gary, a serving member of the RAF, joined forces again at the weekend and have practiced together all week in a bid to hone their partnership.
“Every day, we are building up our relationship and getting used to the snow and the way the course is set,” added Menna.
“We’re fine-tuning our mistakes and finding out where we can gain time on the course and work on speed tactics.”
Great Britain’s most successful Winter Paralympian starts her 2022 Winter Paralympics campaign on Saturday in the downhill before switching to the Super-G on Sunday.
Menna received TASS support from 2014-2016 and bagged four medals in Pyeongchang four years ago.
Gold in the slalom — alongside former guide Jenn Kehoe — saw the then teenager hit the headlines.
And Menna added double silver (super combined and giant slalom) and bronze in the Super-G to a fantastic Paralympic haul.
“Menna has a winning mentality and everyone at TASS is convinced she can be successful again alongside Gary,” said Guy Taylor, national director of TASS.
“We were so proud to see how she performed in Pyeongchang following two years of TASS support and we’re backing her all the way in Beijing.”
Catch up with Menna’s latest column for BBC Sport here https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/disability-sport/60556189
Photo credit: Reuters Images