Aylesbury skier Riley thrilled by podium finish in Italy

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Aylesbury skier Megan Riley was thrilled to have rounded off her English Alpine Championship campaign by finishing on the podium in Bormio.

The English Alpine Championships, organised by national governing body Snowsport England, help provide an early glimpse of the stars of tomorrow.

And with 400 of the country’s best alpine skiers descending upon the Italian resort last week for the 20th running of the event, Riley - who trains with the highly-rated Kandahar team - had her work cut out for her.

But the 15-year-old former Turnfurlong Junior School pupil proved she is one of the ones to watch, as she sealed third place in the under-16 girls Slalom event on Friday, finishing just off the pace of Ambition Racing duo Sarah Woodward and Olivia Ward.

And after an up-and-down start to the week, Riley admitted she was very satisfied to have ended her campaign on a high note.

“I am very pleased to get the result on the final day,” she said. “It was all to play for after the second run as it was so tight.

“And even though I was in fifth I knew I could do it, because my second runs tend to be better than my first. I just went for it.

“This is the best result of the English Champs, and at the Anglo-Scottish races I got a second, third and third.

“I was also in the Czech Republic for an International Children Races, but will now go on to do the British Champs in Tignes and the Le Scara races in Val d’Isere.

“The week has been awesome, it has been great fun with everyone here. Today has to be the highlight though.”

The English Alpine Championships are an important step for any young skier, with British Olympians Chemmy Alcott and Dave Ryding both having competed at the competition.

Alcott, now retired from racing and coaching her own team, CDC Performance, is taking in the action all week from the sidelines, and she believes she has already seen several stars in the making.

Alcott said: “Being here still brings back so many familiar feelings of wanting to race for me. Obviously I was English so these Champs were always such a big deal to me, and it’s great to come back in a different role.

“I think I’d still be racing if it wasn’t for my leg injury so I try to live vicariously through all of these kids now!

“The competition at this English Champs has been absolutely unreal so far. I’ve never seen such great skiing from British athletes of all ages, and I thank God I’m not racing in this age.

“The level is so high that these guys are all having to push themselves. It’s not just about finishing anymore and pushing the boundaries will reap the rewards.

“That’s what British skiing is about now and it is fantastic to see us trying to be the best.”

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. Want to get into skiing or snowboarding? Find your nearest slope offering value-for-money GO SKI GO BOARD sessions at www.goskigoboard.org.uk