Rahles-Rahbula enjoys summer preparation for Winter Games

PARALYMPIC skier Cameron Rahles-Rahbula is planning a hit-and-run mission for his fourth Winter Paralympics.

Rahles-Rahbula, 30, will train on snow for less than a month in the lead-up to the Games, which start in Sochi, Russia, on March 7 next year.

The return to skiing comes despite the former Camperdown man announcing his retirement from the sport in September.

The leg amputee will compete in the standing class, although he is unsure which events — downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom or combined — he will enter.

“I’d like to perform well and do the best I can, but I’m not putting great expectations on myself."

Rahles-Rahbula said he came out of retirement only after agreeing to a training program that will minimise the time he spends away from his family.

The demands of being a husband and father to 23-month-old Archie prompted him to retire after a World Cup event at Thredbo in September.

But, as part of the revised program, he will complete strength and conditioning work in Australia during summer before leaving for Russia in early February.

“I got some good results at the World Cup, a second and a win in the last race,” Rahles-Rahbula said.

“After that, the team said ‘we know you can’t commit to what you usually want to and what we’d like you to, but how about we try for a smaller season?’.

“They said ‘be aware you’re not going to be at the top of your game, or it’s going to be more difficult. But you’ve done all this work up until now. How about we get you there for a small period before the Games, keep yourself fit over the summer and have a proper farewell?’

“In the end I’m doing just over five weeks.

“I’ll be training right up before the Games. Even the first week I’ll still be getting my ski legs back.”

Rahles-Rahbula said his results in September — which came after 10 weeks off snow —- proved he could ski well with little preparation.

He was confident of a good showing, but knew he faced a tough task to replicate his two bronze medals from the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

“The disadvantage is I won’t have the preparation I’m used to,” he said.

“But, in saying that, I’ll be able to keep my physical fitness up with the conditioning I can do at home.

“The other advantage is I don’t have the pressure. 

“I’d like to perform well and do the best I can, but I’m not putting great expectations on myself.

“That’s not to say I can’t do well. But for me it’s about the enjoyment and doing the best I can. 

“Sometimes you ski better without that pressure.”

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