Zoe Gillings, the British No 1 and World ranked No 5 Olympic Snowboard athlete today clinched the silver medal in the opening Parallel Giant Slalom (PGS) South American Cup of the 2009/10 Winter Olympic season in Chapelco, Argentina.
Despite heavy snow fall and low visibility, Gillings started the competition as she meant to go on by qualifying in second place with a time of 48.72 seconds out of a total of 18 women which included both international and World Cup athletes. Gillings then continued into the heats where she went head to head against her fellow finalists where she dominated the field qualifying convincingly into the final. Gillings had a great start in the final taking the lead into the first three gates but then lost her balance, swung out of control and just before regaining her composure was overtaken by her fellow World Cup athlete Alexandra Jekova (BUL). Zoe chased Jekova down towards the finish line but Jekova just clinched the gold medal ahead of Gillings who took silver. This result is even more remarkable today as Gillings's main discipline is Snowboard cross, not PGS.
Zoe commented after the race, "I'm really happy with my performance today, considering the serious lack of training over the summer, I've now got a little more confidence going into this Olympic season." Due to serious funding problems in this Olympic season, Zoe has only managed to train on snow for 4 days this summer instead of the 7 weeks she had planned and has only just managed to secure the services of a coach within the last two weeks. "The British Olympic Association and UK Sport have helped tremendously since the funding problems began but I couldn't have even competed in this competition if it were not for my personal sponsors, they continue to allow me to train and compete at the highest level in my sport which I couldn't do otherwise," continued Zoe.
For more information, images, results and video of Zoe competing in Argentina, please visit zoegillings.com.