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Weldon prepares to chase Sochi dream

Robbi Weldon’s dreams of competing in the next Paralympics appeared to be dashed five months ago while was laying in a Quebec hospital bed. Now she firmly set on hitting the trails in Sochi.
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Robbi Weldon shows off her 2012 Paralympic gold medal at the Brodie Resource Library on Saturday. Weldon is focused on competing in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi this March. (Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com)

Robbi Weldon’s dreams of competing in the next Paralympics appeared to be dashed five months ago while was laying in a Quebec hospital bed.

Now she firmly set on hitting the trails in Sochi.

“It was kind of a longshot of having a goal of competing in Sochi but that’s what I’m aiming towards,” Weldon said on Saturday.

“I really just got on skis three weeks ago and went for a skate ski of 15 kilometres and felt really good and then the next day skied classic technique. With both I had no symptoms, no pain and that’s when I phoned the doctor and coaches and let them know I wanted to pursue full-time training.”

The world-class cross-country skier and cyclist suffered a traumatic injury in August while on the bike with training partner Emilie Roy in Matane, Que. Weldon spent nearly a week hospitalized suffering from a concussion, broken shoulder blade and a broken collarbone that is still not completely healed.

The collarbone will require surgical intervention to be fully repaired, which the 2012 Paralympic tandem cycling gold medalist is planning to delay until September after both the skiing and cycling race seasons have concluded.

Weldon doesn’t expect the collarbone to be a factor in her attempts to land on the Canadian team as she said her skiing range of motion has not been disrupted and only feels pain when her arm is completely extended horizontally.

In addition to recovery and rehabilitation from injury, Weldon will have to make one major adjustment as she makes her push towards Russia.

She will be skiing competitively this season with a new guide, men’s senior national team member Graham Nishikawa.

Weldon, who has six per cent vision, said it usually takes hundreds of hours for a skier to develop chemistry and trust with a guide. The guide is responsible for communicating turns, upcoming elevation changes as well as maintaining a close distance to Weldon while not getting in her way or slowing her down.

“There’s a lot of pressure on the guide,” she said.

Weldon will officially start her push at next weekend’s Para-Nordic Ski Nationals in Cantley, Que. That event that will serve as the selection for the Canadian team that will compete at the Paralympic Winter Games in March.