Axelsson takes aim for biathlon challenge
AFP/The Local · 17 Mar 2010, 09:43
Published: 17 Mar 2010 09:43 GMT+01:00
A former Swedish national team cross-country skier when he was able-bodied, the 52-year-old fireman had his left leg removed in 2005 after initially injuring it in 1999 in a piste machine accident on a snow course.
The amputation came nine months after Axelsson was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa following years of deteriorating vision.
Deciding he was going to participate in the 2010 Paralympics, Axelsson, a work-out fanatic, undertook a training schedule of more than 50 hours a month to realize his goal.
"I like training and skiing is very fun," he said. "It was my goal to go to a Paralympics and now I am here. The goal was to get here for 2010. After that, we have to see."
"Skiing without a guide in the B Class (visually impaired) up to 2009, he had to switch to the B2 Class where a guide skiing behind him is optional. If his sight worsens he could compete in the B1 Class (totally blind).
"It has been more difficult to ski since I have not been able to see so good, and also to have the prosthetic," said Axelsson. "If I do end up B1, I would have to talk to my family and work to see if I would participate.
"It means a lot. I like skiing. I like physical training. To me it is life."
Axelsson is also in action on Thursday in the cross-country 10 km Classic, visually impaired, before rounding off his Paralympics with the cross-country Sprint event on Sunday.
The 52-year-old is hoping for an improvement on error strewn performances in his first two events, having failed to finish the 20 km cross-country race and coming in 14th in the 2 x 3 km pursuit.