Caribbean athletes all ready

Winter Games opening tomorrow

Last updated 13:40 14/08/2013
Winter Games
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Dominican husband and wife cross country skiers Gary and Angelica di Silvestri training at Snowfarm in the Cardrona Valley.

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Two cross country skiers from the tropical and snowless island nation of Dominica, in the Caribbean, will be competing in the Audi quattro Wintergames.

Gary and Angelica di Silvestri will race in the games' opening event, the Cross Country Ski Sprint, tomorrow at Snow Farm high on the Pisa Range.

The husband and wife team aren't only competing for medals - they're also representing the countless millions of people who live in snowless regions.

"We are both lucky enough to have lived in numerous locations throughout our lives, and to have both started skiing at a very young age," Mr di Silvestri said.

"Back in November the International Olympic Committee approached all of the member Carribean nations if they had athletes who could qualify for the Winter Games and Winter Olympics, because there weren't any entered. So the Dominican Olympic committee came to us and said ‘look, you can do it, and we'd like you to represent us'."

While the immediate goal was to earn podium points and qualify for the Winter Olympics, showing youngsters from the Carribean and South America snow sports were an option was also key.

"We really want show and inspire younger athletes in the Caribbean nations and South America that might not have access to snow that there are chances to excel at snow sports. Sometimes those youngsters have the opportunity to get on to snow when they go to school in the Northern Hemisphere - The States or Canada - and they can really compete at top level if they dedicate themselves to doing well."

FAST FACTS

Audi quattro Winter Games opening ceremony

What: Athletes parade, a stunning projection display and Cross-Country awards Where: Earnslaw Park, Queenstown

When: Thursday at 5pm (live music and giveaways from 1pm)

More information: Wintergames are held for ten days from August 15 to 25. Visit wintergames.com to see all the events. 

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- The Mirror

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