14 Feb 2017

Sport: Tongan skier ready for World Champs debut

1:55 pm on 14 February 2017

Tongan skier Kasete Skeen will take another big step in his quest to reach the 2018 Winter Olympics, when he lines up in the giant slalom qualifying race at the World Alpine Ski Champs in St Moritz.

The 34-year-old was born and raised in London but his father's family are from Vava'u and Tongatapu.

He's been based in Italy for training and has three competitive races under his belt in preparation for his World Championship debut on Thursday.

Skeen said it's all about improvement.

"I think it's still early days obviously - every day is another step on the way basically," he said.

"I'm not breaking records yet but every race I've done so far has been improving and getting stronger so the main thing is just to focus on my performance, keep on improving and keep on bringing my times down."

Tongan skier Kasete Skeen

Tongan skier Kasete Skeen Photo: Royal Tongan Ski Federation

In order to qualify for Pyeongchang 2018 Skeen needs to have less than 140 points from his two best results over the next year.

"So obviously in my first couple of races I've made some points and they've both come down, so that's pretty good and I just need to keep on improving," he said.

"I've got a little way to go yet but I feel confident I can make the grade."

Skeen is the only Tongan competitor in St Moritz but Pita Taufatofua and Makeleta Piukala will feature at the World Cross Country Ski Champs later this month.