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Kenya’s only Skier eyes Winter Olympics glory

Sabrina Wanjiku Simader, Kenya’s first and only skier so far to compete at the Olympics, is eyeing a podium finish at the Winter Games in Beijing.

The 23-year old specializes in Alpine skiing, which includes disciplines such as SuperGiants and downhill racing.

“My step-father introduced me to skiing when I was three,” she explained to Nairobi News in an interview at her home in Limuru.

“He had his own ski lift and a small mountain called Hans-berg. That is where I started skiing. It took time for me to fall in love with the sport because it was so cold and I had never seen snow before but then I got used to it and started winning a couple of races. That is when I fell in love with the game.”

The snow leopard, as she is nicknamed due to her African roots and her speed on the slopes, Sabrina represented the country in the 2018 winter Olympics where she finished 38th in the Super Giants category. She describes the experience as unforgettable.

“One of my favorite races was at the Pyeongchang Olympics (in South Korea) in 2018. I was so excited and emotional when I went out with the Kenyan flag at the opening ceremony. It was a memorable experience. I’m glad to have managed a good performance. I was 4.4 seconds behind the gold winner and I believe there is room for improvement,” she adds.

The athlete, who is a full-time skier, has trained her sights on being the fastest in the upcoming season that begins in October of 2021, three months before the start of the Games.

“My goal for this season is to actually make it to the top 30 in the workup, especially in the speed discipline. For supergiant and downhill racing, I will need more training because it is very difficult to train in speed discipline that needs good long slopes.”

Despite the challenges encountered on her road to being among the fastest on blades including a knee injury she suffered in 2020, Sabrina who is training in Limuru hopes to leave a mark in Beijing.