Norwich skier Jazmine Butcher set for race return after long injury lay-off
- Credit: Archant
Norwich skier Jazmine Butcher admits the pressure is firmly off as she returns to competitive racing for the first time in over a year at the forthcoming Delancey British National Alpine Ski Championships in Tignes.
A skier since the age of seven when she took to the dry slopes at Norfolk Snowsports Club, Butcher had been quietly making a name for herself in recent years, including representing the Great Britain Under-16 team in Zagreb, Croatia, in 2013.
However her progress was put on hold last March when she tore her right ACL (knee ligaments) and was required to undergo surgery in the summer.
The 18-year-old, from Little Melton, returned to the snow in December but a competitive outing has so far eluded her.
That is all set to change at the British Championships in Tignes, which get underway on March 22, and Butcher insists she is ready and raring to get going.
'It will be 14 months since I last did a race, I'm not worried too much about the result as I've not had the preparation I would have liked. I spent most of my pre-season doing rehab,' she said.
'But I think if I had not had the injury, I would not be as focused as I am now. It's given me a challenge and something to focus on. I was quite optimistic at the start as I was expecting to be back by the summer but when I found out it was going to be longer I did get frustrated. But I've worked hard on coming back and I feel a lot stronger than I did before.
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'I'm looking forward to competing, I expect to be a bit nervous in the starting gate but I don't have any expectations.
'I've competed in four British Championships before. I didn't do as well as I would have liked but there was a lot of pressure on me. This time the pressure is off, I just want to finish the runs and see where I'm at.'
Despite her injury, Butcher was named on the British Under-18 ski team for the 2014/2015 season.
And with the opportunity to race at further events after the British Championships, Butcher knows the Tignes competition is the perfect opportunity to blow away the cobwebs and announce her return.
'I've got some competitions lined up for after the championships too, in Val Thorens and Belgium so the racing will be a good warm up for that,' she added.
'I just want to keep on improving my skiing and eventually get onto the Europa Cup circuit.
'I've been skiing for a number of years though and skied for the British Under-16 team in 2013 which was a great experience.
'Hopefully I can put my injuries behind me now and push on.'
• As principal sponsor of British Ski and Snowboard, Delancey is proud to be able to provide British athletes with the support and training they require to continue to be a real force in winter sports on a world stage. Follow @teambss or visit www.teambss.org.uk and www.delancey.com