16 Feb 2017

Sport: Support for Tongan skier at World Alpine Champs

2:28 pm on 16 February 2017

Tongan skier Kasete Skeen makes his debut at the World Alpine Ski Champs in St Moritz later today.

The 34-year-old will contest the giant slalom qualifying race, as he continues his quest to reach the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Skeen has three competitive races under his belt and said momentum has been building in his campaign.

"Starting from the bottom and working my way up, really, I didn't expect to receive that much support," he said.

"At my last race...I had a group of young guys who were also racing and were asking me about what I was doing and waiting for me at the end to cheer me across the finish line.

"So that's been really touching, especially because I spend a lot of time training more or less on my own - just me and Hermann [Aigner, former Italian Alpine team coach] - so then when you kind of break out of that bubble and find there are people willing you on to do well then it's really cool."

Tongan skier Kasete Skeen.

Tongan skier Kasete Skeen. Photo: Supplied

Kasete Skeen has been based in Val di Fiemme in Italy for training.

He said it was tough being away from his friends and family but will have some support on hand.

"My girlfriend Anna is coming out to see me in Switzerland and then normally I have the odd friend or my mum came out a couple of weeks ago to see me in Val di Fiemme, so we had a nice time down in the valley and enjoyed some of the sights."

Kasete Skeen said his main focus is to keep improving.