Ski star honoured

Nicole (third from left above) in parliament and (below) in action.
Nicole (third from left above) in parliament and (below) in action.

EASTWOOD youngster Nicole Ritchie has been honoured for her success in alpine skiing at a parliamentary reception.

The 16-year-old was part of the Scottish ski team being recognised by sports minister Shona Robison at Holyrood.

Nicole, from Newton Mearns, told ExtraSport: “Usually it’s the bigger sports like football and rugby which get all the attention so it’s nice to be recognised for competing in a smaller sport.

“I started skiing when I was just three years old and it has taken over my life since then, as I train at least four times a week, all year round”.

The Craigholme pupil is currently studying for her highers, which she hopes to pass with flying colours so that next year she can join the Scottish ski team full time.

Nicole added: “I want a year devoting all my time to the Scottish team, then hopefully in 2013 I can progress to the British squad”.

Minister for Commonwealth Games and sport, Shona Robison, said: “The success of the team will only help raise awareness of skiing in Scotland and the excellent facilities we have around the country. “The Scottish ski team is an inspiration to other Scottish athletes ahead of an important time for sport in this country.

“They have achieved global recognition in what has been one of the Scottish ski team’s best ever seasons”.

The squad is celebrating a landmark year, enjoying a succession of wins this season, particularly from its younger athletes, who dominated the podium at the Great British Alpine Ski Championships in Meribel earlier this month.

Speaking on the evening was head coach Ross Gardner who said: “Our athletes undergo a gruelling training regime for 365 days of the year, demonstrating true commitment and dedication to their sport”.

The Craigholme pupil’s father, Gordon Ritchie, who is head of fundraising for the Scottish ski team told ExtraSport: “It was a fantastic evening and we were overwhelmed by support from the MSPs who attended.

“The athletes and coaches greatly appreciated the time that the politicians took to meet with them and hear about the results they have produced throughout the winter season.

“We would also like to thank Dave Thomson MSP for sponsoring and inviting us to parliament”.

Further information can be found on www.snowsportscotland.org.