Kingston's Warner still eyes Paralympic winter triple
5:02pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in Sport
If Kingston Kestrels sledge hockey star Ian Warner did not realise becoming a three-time winter Paralympian was going to be so tough, he does now, writes Ric Sumner.
The 38-year-old GB captain is just one of three survivors in the current GB squad to have appeared at the Nagano Games in 1998, and was in the side that finished seventh in Turin in the 2006 Paralympics.
Team GB missed out on the last games, but the captain took his squad back to Turin this week where they take on Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and Sweden in a six-nation tournament with the top three set to qualify for Sochi 2014.
Team GB’s tournament got off to the worst possible start with an 8-0 defeat to the host nation on Sunday and followed that with defeat by a seven-goal margin to Sweden in their second match on Tuesday, leaving them needing to beat Japan to keep qualification hopes alive.
Warner, who took up the sport at university 19 years ago, had been confident in the build-up to the competition.
“We have a great team environment, there’s a great camaraderie in the dressing room and on the ice it’s such a fast, action packed sport, full contact, it’s just great fun to play,” he said.
“Competing in the Paralympics is amazing. In Turin we played Italy twice and won on both occasions in front of about 3,000 people and it was just such a truly fantastic atmosphere.
“Captaining the team gives me a great honour every time and it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.”
One of the most popular sports at the Paralympic Games, sledge hockey is fast and furious with players using two sticks instead of one to propel themselves around the ice and control the puck.
* BT is supporting Nathan Stephens and British Sledge Hockey in their bid to complete at the
Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi next year.