13 Mar 2014

Paralympic skier Whitley looks beyond Sochi to 2018

James Whitley, 16, is ranked second in the world in slalom at under-18 level. Sochi should stand him in good stead as he pushes to become a medal prospect at the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea.

James Whitley (Getty Images)

James Whitley was born with an impairment to both hands and will compete in two standing events, the slalom and giant slalom – but without ski poles, writes Becky Horsbrugh.

The 16-year-old from Sussex began skiing at the age of four and made his international debut when he was 11. He has also represented his school, Millfield, and Courcheval, where he trains, in non-disabled competition, winning six cups.

In his first major competition last year, the World Championships in La Molina, Spain, he finished 16th in the giant slalom. In the 2012-2013 season he won his first senior medal, a bronze, in the giant slalom in Chamrousse, France.

Whitley is currently ranked second in the world in slalom and fifth in giant slalom at under-18 level. Sochi will be great experience for the teenager as he looks to become a serious medal prospect for the 2018 games in South Korea.

In action

13 March: slalom

15 March: giant slalom

Becky Horsbrugh is a producer for Channel 4 News