SkIING star Yasmin Cooper has stormed back from an injury-hit season with success at the British Championships.
An injury at the start of 2013 halted the 14-year-old’s season before it even took off, meaning she has spent much of the year to date away from the slopes.
Cooper said: “It was frustrating. I was able to carry on with core fitness and stretching, but everything else was very limited. I tried not to think about what I was missing with training and races.”
Her season suffered an early setback in January when she was in Les Houches preparing for a winter season training with the British Ski Academy (BSA).
She said: “At the FIS (Federation of International Skiing) races in Chamonix in January, I was a forerunner (someone who goes down a course before the race to test it) and on the second run I fell and dislocated my knee.
“I popped it back in and then had to get a blood wagon to the hospital. The knee took a long time to recover and I am still suffering with minor knee difficulties now.”
Having spent most of the season unable to train or race, Cooper went to the British Championships in Meribel, France, and achieved three top-seven finishes, including third place in the slalom, despite having had limited training.
Cooper said: “I was extremely happy with my results. I definitely didn’t expect to get anything anywhere near as good as those.
“My dad said I didn’t stop smiling. I was meant to be careful and take it easy, but it didn’t quite happen like that.”
The results were enough to see Cooper put forward for the GB children’s ski team selection process. The knee injury meant she was unable to take part in the exercises required for stage two but has been told she can do that at a later date.
Cooper is putting a troublesome few months behind her and looking forward to the summer season before heading back out to the Alps next winter.
“I plan to do as many indoor snow dome races as possible. I probably won’t do any dry slope races, although I always had good times on the dry slope,” she said.
“Fitness is a priority in preparation for summer camp, with BSA in Zermatt, to enable me to be ready for the season to kick off around December 15. I hope to practise on harder courses and I will be on longer skis for Giant Slalom and Super-G, so I’m looking forward to trying those out too.”
Cooper will go into next season armed with her sponsorship from ski manufacturer Salomon and local company Ski Bitz. It will be Cooper’s last season in the children’s category - she will compete in FIS races against adults next year.
She is relishing the tougher challenge facing her and said: “I’m really keen for it - the races will be bigger, it will be a big change and it will be much more of a challenge.”