Let’s hear it for Millie!

The partially-sighted skier from King’s Canterbury school was the youngest competitor at last year’€™s Winter Paralympics

Independent School Sport caught up with Millie to find out more…

How would you describe the sports coaching at King’s?

I am lucky to be at a school where I am allowed to pursue and develop a hobby into something much more intense. I have training sessions with the Sports scholars at school, on top of my daily rowing and PE sessions and training sessions at Kent University with a strength and conditioning coach – the latter organised through King’s Sports Department.

What do you think King’s is giving you, in terms of your development as an athlete?

The school is so helpful – always guiding me in the best direction, not just with fitness but with sports psychology and even funding advice. The Sports department has some very talented and knowledgeable staff, including Olympians and national players.

What is school life like beyond the sports field?

I am so lucky to be at King’s. I truly love it here. The facilities are incredible, from the swimming pool to the outdoor sports centre at Birleys – and all run by amazingly knowledgeable, experienced staff who really care.

Have you been drawn to any other sports alongside skiing?

When I first joined King’s, I thought I would try rowing as it would be a good sport for me as it does not involve seeing and catching a ball –difficult when you are visually impaired. I am now quite hooked. We have a great boathouse on the river Stour. I have even thought that one day I might try out for the Paralympic GB rowing team after my skiing career. But don’t tell my ski coach!

How is your academic career bearing up under all this sporting pressure?

It’s very easy to let the sport take over, but I want to go to university and get a profession, possibly as a physiotherapist. Sport has taught me how to work hard and has helped my mental concentration too. My teachers give me so much support in my quest to get the results that I need, especially as I’m not the most academic person in the school and I do struggle a little with written work due to my lack of sight. I owe so much to my wonderful teachers.

How does your training work?

I currently train in Austria as often as I can – at least once a month in termtime and then all through the school holidays. My guide skis in front of me, and we communicate through a Bluetooth headset in our helmets. I also train with the British Disabled Ski Team, who are a great bunch of inspirational people.

What has been your own sporting highlight this year?

There have been many highlights in my short sporting life, all of them in the last 12 months: being chosen for the GB team, carrying the flag at the Winter Paralympics at the Sochi Opening Ceremony, and both my slalom and giant slalom races – we came fifth in both disciplines. It’s been an amazing year.

What are your plans for the future?

2015 will see much more racing around the world, culminating in the World Championships in Canada in March. I have just turned 16 so am able to start competing in speed events – much faster disciplines which can reach speeds of over 70 mph. I am hoping these will be my best events!

W: www.millieknight.co.uk


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