AFTER the euphoria of being selected to represent her country, skiing talent Natasha Royal is setting her sights on further success on the slopes in 2011.
The 11-year-old Suffolk Viking member is currently riding high after her inclusion in the English School’s Junior Ski Squad.
But Natasha, from Elmsett, near Hadleigh, is determined to improve her junior standing further, currently inside the top 20 in the country, starting at the British School’s Girls Skiing Race in France at the end of the month.
“I will take it as it comes at the moment, but I would like to get much better and achieve more,” said the Ipswich High School pupil.
“I would like to gain a lot more snow training as we do not get much snow in England.”
Natasha was hand-picked for the national squad towards the end of last year after finishing seventh out of more than 150 competitors in her age group at the National Championships held at Rossendale, Lancashire.
And she was both surprised and delighted with her final placing.
“It was really exciting when I found out I had finished in the top 10,” she said. “I had never been in the top 10 before and I was quite surprised by that. I was hoping to get in the top 20. It was a really hard course and at one point we had to go uphill.”
Natasha is now eagerly anticipating joining up with the England team for a week’s training camp in Austria in March, but before that is hoping to give a good showing in Flaine, France, in the slalom and giant slalom events.
Mother Michaela said: “It is her first time as she is old enough to qualify. All the top skiers from all over the country will be taking part and she is hoping to finish in a reasonable placing.”
Of her national call-up she added: “We are really thrilled, she just got in last year but as a reserve stepping in through the backdoor.
“She is included on her own merit this time and we are really pleased.”
Natasha first took up skiing on a family holiday at the age of four, joining Suffolk Vikings at seven, before beginning to compete in regional and then national events.
She won the Midlands Club National for her age group in 2009 and came second for at the Southampton Club National the same year, as well as winning a number of regional competitions.
n Natasha is hoping to join up with the British Ski Academy in France for a few weeks this winter to get some valuable snow time, but will have to self-fund herself. Any businesses interested in providing any amount of sponsorship should call Mrs Royal on 01473 657881.