It is only one day to go before the World Ski Championships 2021 in Cortina d’Ampezzo and 22-year-old Sabrina Simader will be the only Kenyan flying our flag when she joins the very best athletes in the world in the various disciplines in the two-week event.

The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2021 are scheduled for 8–21 February in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

The opening ceremony takes place today, and Sabrina will be among the first athletes to hit the snow on Monday in one of the three disciplines that she’ll be competing in.  The ‘Snow Leopard’ as she is known will be competing in the following events;

  • Monday 8th February – Women’s Alpine Combined 11.00am/14.30pm
  • Tuesday 9th February – Women’s Super G 10.30am
  • Saturday 13th February – Women’s Downhill 11.00am

Sabrina competed in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea in 2018 in Giant Slalom and Super G and before that the Youth Winter Olympics, Lillehammer 2016 where she finished top 25 in all her events.

On her aspirations for the championships, ‘My goal is it to show my fullest potential & to be as fast as I can possibly be.’’

‘’My favourite event is Super-G.’’ Sabrina says with a grin. Clearly speed events are her best. She was first placed at the Slovenia Super-G championships in 2019 and took first place at the International African World Championships in 2019. The reigning Super G World Champion is Mikaela Shiffrin of USA.

 

We also asked Sabrina how her preparations have been. ‘’After my knee injury in end of October I’ve had a long rehab and I got back on skis in mid-December. Since then, I’m pretty satisfied with my healing & I have had good preparation mentally, physically & on skis as well.’’

The first Kenya Olympic alpine skier was in 2018 appointed the UN Environment’s first Mountain Hero by the UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim. Her love for the mountains and the snow leopard, got Sabrina to be designated as an ambassador to help draw attention to emerging issues in mountain regions such as climate change, waste, and loss of biodiversity.

Sport once again, shows us the power of human resilience amidst adversity. It is reported that the town of Cortina and the Veneto region of Italy was one of the earliest and hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, and caused unprecedented financial implications for the local and national business community and the general population.  The country and the organizers have done everything possible to get through the pandemic and with strict covid requirements and restrictions have pulled off the event successfully. Italy Ski federation expressed to the world the importance of these World Championships to be staged in 2021 as a positive signal for the entire country of Italy and the world.

As part of the counter measures, there will be no live public, but fans will still be able to watch and experience the emotions of the world championship on Italian broadcaster Rai 2, as well as the Cortina 2021 event app.

There are 71 nations present in Cortina d’Ampezzo who will compete for 13 titles:  Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slalom, Slalom, Combined and, for the first time, Parallel Slalom. 600 athletes will take turns during the 14 days of the event.

 

National Olympic Committee Kenya

 

Francis Mutuku

Ag. Secretary General