EYOWF: Globetrotter Henderson eager to make Olympic bow
PAUL Henderson has been globetrotting of late as he bids to make a name for himself on the international stage - and now he's got the perfect chance to prove his worth at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival.
GLOBETROTTER: Paul Henderson has been honing his skills all over the world ahead of his Olympic bow in Liberec
Alpine skier Henderson, 16, is one of 15 Brits selected to compete against the best in the Continent in the Czech Republic as more than 1500 athletes from 44 nations convene at the biennial tournament.
Henderson has been honing his skills this season in both Australia and Colorado, the USA as prepares to take his first steps on the Olympic ladder.
And he is the first to admit that this season has not all be plain sailing and he's had plenty of difficulties with his technique, failing to finish five of his last six races.
But the slalom and giant slalom specialist is convinced it will be alright on the night in Liberec.
"I've been having some problems recently and I've been finding it difficult to finish my races to be honest," said Henderson.
"But things are starting to get better and so hopefully I will be OK when it comes to the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival.
"Regardless of results it will be a fantastic experience to race against some of the best skiers in Europe at my age group.
"I've been doing quite a lot of travelling and training at the moment and while my results have not been great, it will benefit me in the long run.
"And so my main goal for Liberec is just to go out there, ski as best as a can and finish my races - then I'll be happy."
Great Britain will be up against it to add to the seven EYOWF medals they have won since 1997 - a task made all the more difficult by the decision by the organising committee to remove curling - where GB won a gold and a silver in 2007 - from the schedule.
But while Henderson, by his own admission, will struggle to reach the podium, he is determined to ensure his first appearance on the Olympic stage is not his last.
"And the fact that it's an Olympic competition just makes it even better," he added. "My main goal in this sport is to get to the pinnacle and that means the Winter Olympics.
"This is the perfect stepping stone because it's an Olympic competition and so I'm determined to make the most of the experience."
The British Olympic Association prepares and leads the ‘Best of British' at the summer, winter and youth Olympics. It supports Team GB and National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values. www.olympics.org.uk