12:31 Monday 08 July 2013

SLIDESHOW Former Bishop's Stortford High School student aims to make the 2018 Winter Olympics

Written byDAVID RIMMER

AN adventurous former Bishop’s Stortford High School student has set his long-term sights set on qualifying for the Winter Olympics of 2018.

Tom Farrow, 24, dashes down ski slopes and has been in the GB snowboarder team for 18 months.

Farrow is ranked 299th in the world after being 760th a year ago.

After going to York University where he studied philosophy he went to train in Morzine in East France.

Farrow said: “I’m not currently planning for the 2014 Olympics [Winter] because it is so soon after joining the GB team, but I’m working towards 2018 [in South Korea].

“I compete across Europe and I’m aiming to progress to the World Cup this coming competition season.”

The snowboarder, whose Stortford base is in Rochford Road in Stortford and who lives with family in Sheffield, competes in the boarder cross discipline. It is a head to head freestyle race with four people.

Farrow said: “It’s very similar to BMX or motocross. The track is built up of different types of jumps, ditches, rollers and banked turns.”

For Farrow it is very testing.

He said: “It’s pretty crazy to compete in and it’s a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

“You’re not allowed to practise on the courses or see them before the race day so it’s a case of walking into the unknown.”

He added: “My last race this season had a 40ft jump then immediately another 60ft jump into the finish area.”

There is little margin for error.

Farrow explained: “You feel a lot of pressure because you can’t make a mistake.

“It’s really intense at the start of the day during the individual qualifications.”

Farrow then stressed the danger element.

“I had a race last season (2012/13) where all four of us were going into the first corner and a guy fell over and broke his arm in front of us and we all crashed in to him,” he said.

“None of us knew he was hurt so we all raced to get back up and get on with the race.”

The excitement of moving up the field is strong for Farrow.

He said: “Overtaking someone is always an amazing feeling.”

Farrow started snowboarding in 2000.

He said: “I got into snowboarding when I was 12, when the experimental board store opened up in town. They used to take me to Welwyn Garden City [dry slope] every week.

“After they closed, I ended up riding a bit in Milton Keynes but not that regularly. I didn’t get into boardercross until I joined university. That’s also where I started to go snowboarding regularly again.”

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