A talented young freestyle skier from Hemel Hempstead has battled back from a dislocated shoulder to win a bronze medal in the U18 category at the prestigious Brits competition in France.
Teenager Callum Welch sustained his injury the day before he was due to compete in an AFP World Tour stop in Vars, France, but after plenty of work with a physiotherapist, he was back in action at the Brits just four weeks later.
The competition took place at Tignes, where 52 competitors were fighting for the top positions across the various events over the five days of action.
Ski slopestyle ran on Tuesday and the competitors were blessed with sunny weather for the majority of the qualifying rounds.
The children and youth categories were up first and it was evident from the standard of the younger riders that it was going to be hard fought and high quality event.
By the time it had got to the U18s and open category, however, the speed had dramatically decreased, making it harder to maintain speed for the larger jumps.
“On my first run I managed to land every component and trick,” said Callum. “Whilst going up the lift, ready for next run, I decided to increase the difficulty, upping my last jump to a 900 instead of a 540.”
However, the speed of the course had slowed down so much that, on the second jump, Callum came up short so was unable to complete his second run.
The event organisers then decided that, because the weather conditions had become so treacherous, they would not run finals – instead taking the first two run scores and making them the final standings.
“When the time came for prize giving, I was unsure whether I had got I the podium as I didn’t manage to put my best run together,” said Callum. “I was surprised as my name was called out in third place in the U18 category, but I was very happy to podium nevertheless!”
Callum is now back home and training at The Snow Centre twice a week as he prepares for the summer glacier skiing season.