Former East Kent College student James Barnes-Miller has scooped a place on the GB Paralympic team competing in South Korea this year.
For the first time in its history, Great Britain will have representation in snowboard at the Paralympic Games after the sport made its debut at Sochi 2014. There are two medal events; snowboard cross and banked slalom.
James is one of two GB contenders to be selected in the classification for athletes with upper-limb impairments.
Former St George’s student James won two World Cup silver medals in Tahoe, California, last year and has been ranked 4th in the world in Snowboard Cross and 9th in Banked Slalom following championships in Tahoe and in Canada.
His place on the team looked uncertain after thieves broke into his van in Manchester and stole vital equipment needed by James to compete in the qualifiers.
Despite the setback he has managed to secure his place. Today’s team announcement is the first for ParalympicsGB. The full line-up of athletes will be complete by February 15.
East Kent College Broadstairs campus Principal Paul Manning said: “We’re so proud of James for being selected as one of Team GB’s winter Paralympics squad. It’s amazing to see one of our college’s alumni reaching the pinnacle of sporting achievement, and really characterises his tenacity and will to succeed.
“The college has been sponsoring him on his journey to help with his training and equipment costs, and there’s no doubt we’ll all be cheering him on when he competes at Pyeong Chang.”
James was born without his right hand, but this has not prevented him excelling in extreme sport.
He started out skateboarding, and then working, at Revolution in Broadstairs as well as surfing and rock climbing. Then five years ago James discovered a talent for snowboarding during a holiday in Bulgaria.
During a trip to Landgraff in 2015 James had a chance meeting with Owen Pick, one of the British Paralympic snowboard team, who advised him to contact Simon Nicholson, head coach.
He was invited to train with the aim to qualify for the team and has not looked back since.
The 2018 Winter Paralympics will be held in Pyeong Chang, South Korea from 9 to 18 March, 2018.