Franki Ends Frustrating Season On a High

Chiswick's Alpine Skiing Champion Triumphs Over Injuries

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Franki Simonds, one of the rising stars in British Alpine Skiing, has ended a frustrating year on a high with wins at the British and English Championships held in France recently.

A member of the England A Team, 16 year old Franki from Chiswick, who is still at school studying for her AS levels, had missed almost the whole season after injuring her ankle in October during a team fitness training session.

Eventually she had to have keyhole surgery in January but remarkably she did put her skis on to compete in the British Schoolgirls Races for her school team, The Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton, at the end of January, only 2 ½ weeks after surgery, not only helping the school to win the team trophies, but also taking the individual title herself.

However, she then had to return to an intensive regime of physio and gym work to try to build up enough strength in her ankle to cope with the rigors of FIS racing at an international level before finally returning to ski training in Mid March, one week before the British Championships which were held in Meribel.

Competing in the Senior British Championships for the first time was a big thrill as she was racing in the same races as Chemmy Alcott, which is a great experience for any young racer, and rubbing shoulders with the other senior team members like Alain and Noel Baxter, and Finlay Mickel.

After a very promising Slalom result (7th British and 2nd British U 18) she went on to do one better the following day, again coming 7th female Brit, but winning the Under 18 trophy in the Giant Slalom, giving herself a huge boost on her return to competitive skiing.

After another week of racing in Meribel and Courcheval, with mixed results, but a personal best points score in Slalom, she moved to Puy St Vincent for the English Championships where she came 2nd in her age group in the Slalom, and was the English Giant Slalom Champion the following day.

Franki, who is still struggling with both ankle and on going back problems, has now returned to the UK to concentrate on fully recovering from her injuries and working to regain her fitness, as well as revising for her AS levels

April 13, 2007