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School involved in England squad

PUBLISHED: 08:57 21 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 July 2010

Michael Molloy at the start gate.

Michael Molloy at the start gate.

Two members of Cliff Park High School in Gorleston swapped their classrooms for the French Alps last week to compete in the ISF World Schools Ski Championships in Alp D'Huez.

Two members of Cliff Park High School in Gorleston swapped their classrooms for the French Alps last week to compete in the ISF World Schools Ski Championships in Alp D'Huez.

It resulted in England's first-ever medal at the event and an offer for the school's Michael Molloy to compete on the European circuit.

Year 11 pupil Michael Molloy, 16, made his England debut to compete in the Slalom and Giant Slalom events while PE teacher Andrew Innes began his reign as the England team manager.

The England team flew to France two days early to prepare to compete against teams from as far afield as the Ukraine, Austria and Canada. The event began with a civic reception with the team receiving gifts from local schoolchildren before parading the England flag at an opening ceremony watched by 10,000 people. The serious business of racing followed as the sun gave way to poor weather.

The slalom race was held in atrocious conditions and Malloy had to battle against driving sleet and storm-force winds to record a time which placed him in the top 35 and which scored valuable points for the team.

In the Giant Slalom two days later, he amazed everyone with a storming run which put him up among the top skiers at the end of the first run.

With the required three England skiers recording good times, Molloy really pushed himself on the second run and discovered that even a small twitch at 50mph can have disastrous consequences as he hit powder and crashed out, narrowly escaping serious injury.

He said: “I have learnt so much this week and have been so proud to wear my England jacket.”

In the category one girls' competition, the team surprised the rest of the world by winning the first English medal in the history of the event, taking the bronze and beating arch rivals Austria.

Innes said: “To represent England

at a World Championships is an honour, and to win a medal is just an amazing feeling. I am so proud of every

member of the team, they did their country proud.”

Members of the team now look forward to a busy summer season on the dry slopes to prepare for next season.

Molloy has been approached by top coach Taryn Archbold to race on the European circuit next year and is desperately looking for a financial backer to allow him to reach the

next level.

Michael and Andrew thanked Cliff Park High School for allowing them the time to take part in the Championships.

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