Skier moves up in the world

By Riverine Herald

WE all want to be among the best in the world.

And one Echuca local is right there.

Fletcher Ball, 13, has been named as the seventh best junior boy barefoot skier in the latest World Barefoot Council rankings.

A stunning run of form has seen Ball climb the rankings after he was crowned as the Victorian sub-junior boys champion.

That result followed on from Ball’s second place finish at the national championships held last month.

‘‘I am really happy to win the medal,’’ Ball said.

‘‘To be ranked so high in the world is awesome.

‘‘I would love to be number one.’’

While it didn’t count towards the overall result, Ball also took out the gold medal in his favourite event — jumps.

He continued his form after also taking out the jumps event at the national championships.

‘‘I love hitting the ramp and getting as far as I can,’’ he said.

‘‘Sometimes I get scared when I’m in the air but it’s really fun.’’

Ball’s results in recent months have earned him a place on the wider Australian training squad, who have an eye on the World Championships in Sydney next April — an event Ball wants to be a part of.

‘‘It would be really cool to try and beat the best in the world,’’ he said.

‘‘Not everyone gets to do something for their country.’’

On his journey to multiple medals in previous years, Ball has been heavily influenced by local barefoot skiing legend Brett Sands.

Their time together has seen Sands guide the youngster in early morning sessions as Ball looked to take to the water as often as possible.

‘‘The water is Fletcher’s happy place,’’ Sands said.

‘‘For the amount of water time he gets, he has come on leaps and bounds.

‘‘He’s already starting to learn more difficult tricks.

‘‘Put anything in front of him and he will want to do the hard work.’’

Although he has been successful in the short-term, Sands believes the best is yet to come from Ball.

‘‘I think he will be an Australian representative as a junior and in the open age bracket,’’ he said.

‘‘Anything is possible if he continues to expose himself to the water.’’