Arnau_gabriel_copa_Mon
13 Feb 2013 3 comment Redacció

Arnau Ferrer: “As a guide, you see everything more calmly”

Arnau Ferrer Ventura is a young 22-year-old Catalan who’s been competing as a guide to Gabriel Gorce for three seasons in the Paralympic ski championships. Together they form a promising team. Next Monday, February 18, they will take part in the World Championships, organized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), that will run until February 27 in La Molina ski resort. They expect the local crowd to cheer for them, and hopefully get a medal.

What is your goal in this World Championship?

As always, our goal is to be in the top three, to step on the podium. We work all year round for that and we will try to do our best, especially in the speed competitions.

Arnau and Gabriel in training.

Have you competed before in La Molina? What atmosphere are you expecting to find?

We have raced there for the World Cup, but nothing as important as this. It does not draw as much interest as a regular World Championship, but we expect to find a lot of supporters. I’m from La Molina, so competing at home is always something special. It’s always thrilling to race before people whom you’ve known your whole life, your family, friends… Also, the press will be there, and we hope that some television networks as well.

How do you become a guide?

I used to race in alpine skiing. In recent years I thought about quitting, but a former trainer of mine, who is now the Technical director of the Spanish team of visually impaired skiers, contacted me. He wanted to meet. I was told that I would be introduced to a guy. It was Gabriel. We got together in a bar and they explained the basics because I knew nothing of their world. This was in 2010. We discussed it and I said yes.

What do you most value in your experience as a guide?

There are many things, because you get to see the world of sport –and life– from a different perspective. In the Paralympic circuit there aren’t only blind people but also amputees and those bound to a wheelchair. You see the spirit of overcoming and a new way of understanding ski. Racing as a guide has allowed me to learn aspects of skiing that I was not aware when I raced by myself. It has also opened my mind.

Have you changed the way you ski in any way?

Yes, that’s what I meant. As a guide, you see everything more calmly. When I raced alone, I tried to go as fast as possible without focusing too much on technical aspects. When competing as a guide, somehow, you take it more calmly and pay attention to these aspects you overlooked before.

Arnau Ferrer and Gabriel Gorce. FCEH.

Do you and Gabriel train together?

Yes, because it’s very important to generate trust among each other.

Eric Villalón, the Spanish skier with the most medals at the Paralympics, complained in an interview that the role of the guide is not sufficiently recognized. Guides are athletes as well, because if you are not in shape your partner will pay the consequences. How does it feel having this supporting role?

I’m taking it pretty well, I think. The problem is that we aren’t recognized as top-level athletes, so that makes it hard for us to get grants or scholarships. In my case I’ve lost many days of school because of the sport. I’ve tried to fit both worlds in my life: sport and education. But it’s very tough without some sort of support. They say it’s all in the hands of politicians. So, I guess I should not have my expectations very high.

Speaking of which, how do you reconcile sport and education?

I’m attending university at the moment, and I’m taking some exams. But this year, for instance, I’ve only been able to enroll in one class only because I’ve been out since September. Usually, I can take up more classes during the second semester because I have more time.

Comments

  1. miquel albà (Català) va dir això el 14 Feb 2013

    Són esportistes d’èlit, d’això no hi ha cap dubte. Mereixen ésser admirats pel triple esforç: treball tècnic, superació, existència.

  2. Patrick (Català) va dir això el 15 Feb 2013

    Felicitats, Arnau, per la feina que feu !

    Espero que us vagi molt als Campionats del Món de La Molina. Us ho mereixeu. Sort !

  3. maribel lopez (Català) va dir això el 15 Feb 2013

    Felicitats Arnau,clar que sou esportistes d’elit, i dignes d’admiracio per la feina que feu.Els mitjans de comunicacio espero que no ens defraudin i ens deixin gaudir amb la seva informacio d’aquest campionat.

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