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Archive for January, 2011

Gillings takes 3rd place in French snowboard cross cup!

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Following 10 months of rehabilitation since the Winter Olympics back in February in Vancouver on her left knee  and after UK Sport’s decision to end all World class funding of Snowboarding in the UK, Zoe Gillings returned to competition at the weekend with a 3rd place finish on Sunday in the Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) French Snowboard cross Cup beating Olympic Silver medallist Deborah Anthonioz, re-affirming her position as Britain’s No 1 Olympic snow sports athlete.

What makes this result stand out is that Zoe still hasn’t  received the £31,000 of funding covering 1st October 2010 until the 31st March 2011 and she has had to fund the World Cup SBX program herself with minimal personal finances.   This funding is now nearly 3 ½ months overdue and its now over half way through the funding period.

Unfortunately Zoe doesn’t have the available finances to run the program herself and as such she hasn’t had any coaching since the Olympics. During this time Zoe has also undergone key hole surgery to her knee to plug the cartilage she damaged during the Olympics.  She has undergone a long and painful summer of rehabilitation with zero time training with her coach.  

Despite this competition being a lower standard to World Cup, it attracted more than double the amount of athletes Zoe is used to including Olympic gold medallist Maelle Ricker, Olympic Silver medallist Deborah Anthonioz and several other World Cup athletes.  What makes this result even more remarkable for Zoe is that she beat the Olympic Silver medallist by over 1.5 seconds and finished immediately behind the Olympic Gold medallist – Ricker – who finished in 2nd place.

Zoe commented after the race, “Obviously having had no preparations since the Olympics I’m really happy with the result as even without any training with a coach and following a serious knee injury I have proven I can still beat the World’s best SBX athletes, Just imagine what I can achieve with a funded program.  This is a true testament to my current sponsors which include BMW, Pokerstars, Isle of Man Sport Aid and the Isle of Man Steam Packet company without whom I wouldn’t even have been able to turn up at the competition never mind compete.”

UK Sport, the government funding body released a statement in December 2010:- “Whilst results in Vancouver were of course taken into account, it was decided that, at present, there was not enough evidence to suggest that British Ski & Snowboard (Zoe’s governing body) would have the programme or athletes capable of reaching the podium in Sochi in three year’s time or at the winter Olympics in 2018.”

British World Cup SBX Team Manager, Dan Brier, commented, “Zoe knows she has a long way ahead of her to return to full fitness and to get back to her full potential which makes this latest result quite extraordinary.  Zoe likes to let her results do the talking and I think winning several  World Cup podiums in the last 2 years, being ranked 5th in the World in 2009, finishing 8th place at the Olympics in February and most recently beating the Olympic Silver medallist on Sunday despite the difficult circumstances she has endured over the past 4 years with funding and program management, she has proved at the very least that she has the potential to reach the podium in Sochi (Olympics) in 2014.  I hope UK Sport are already reviewing their decision.”

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