ALMATY — Thinking of sport in New Zealand, it’s cricket, rugby and football that come to mind.
But New Zealand’s Virgina Orange says there is far more than just the sunny beach shores.
“New Zealand has everything,” she said. “We have the mountains, we have the sea, we have the rain forest, we have absolutely everything.”
And she says some of the world’s top winter skiers travel to the small country to train.
“[We have] some of the best training facilities in the world,” she said.
“A lot of national teams come down and train there. For me, it was only an hour away and my parents wanted my sister and my brother and I to ski, so we grew up going up on the weekends and skiing every weekend.”
And while competing at the 2017 Winter Universiade, it was Shymbulak Ski Resort that would impress the athlete who trains at a world class facility.
“Shymbulak is amazing,” she said. “The resort is beautiful, the scenery is gorgeous and everyone who is working here is great [and] the snow is great as well.”
Orange finished 34th in the ladies slalom event at the Games, but she’s happy with her overall experience in Kazakhstan.
“I feel pretty honoured actually to be the only person representing New Zealand,” she said.
“It’s an amazing experience, so I am doing everything I can do enjoy it and make New Zealand proud. I do feel like there’s a little pressure as well, to be the only one.”
And for two Universiades in a row, New Zealand has sent just one athlete to represent the small country — and for the next athlete to attend the Games, Orange had some great advice.
“Just do it, go for it,” she said. “Have fun, do everything that you can, enjoy every opportunity that is presented to [you].”
Kelcey Wright Johnson, U-Media Reporter
Check out the video here.