By SUZY TURNER
CHARLIE RAPOSO will be the one to watch during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. Charlie, currently just 12 years old, is tipped to be one of the top skiers to compete for Portugal.
Having started at the tender age of seven, skiing has become Charlie’s passion, so much so that he now follows a gruelling training schedule throughout Europe.
Charlie’s sporting passion has clearly been passed down from his English mother, Melissa, who is a former professional show-jumper and from his late Portuguese father who was also a keen sportsman and rally car racer.
When Charlie first began to ski with his stepfather, Mark, and his two stepbrothers from their chalet in Verbier, Switzerland, he did just a couple of weeks per year. It wasn’t until he was lucky enough to be coached by one of the trainers for the Swiss children’s team when he was nine, that it became apparent how talented he really was. “The trainer said that he was just too talented not to do anything about it. And it’s really taken off from there,” says Melissa, who owns a house in Quinta do Lago, where the family spend as much time as they can.
Having searched high and low for the perfect training facilities, Charlie was accepted into Ambition Racing, a premier training supplier to athletes aiming to achieve the highest standards of performance within ski racing. “This elite team is absolutely awesome,” says Melissa, “it’s the most incredible and professional set up that is programmed perfectly. It constantly keeps the right pressure on the athletes.”
Although Charlie competes at an individual level in British events, last year was the first time that he actually competed for Portugal and will continue to do so in the future. He is now a member of the Federação Portuguesa de Esqui (Portuguese Skiing Federation).
Charlie went to the Portuguese Championships which were held in St Moritz, Switzerland, in January where he won both the Slalom and the Giant Slalom races, making him their current number one skier. He is also on the selection list for team GB but the team is not selected until this coming January, however Charlie has already chosen to represent Portugal in the internationals this year.
This winter will see Charlie taking part in events throughout the world – Slovenia, Croatia, Switzerland, Austria and perhaps even in Canada. When not in training, which takes place in Italy, Charlie attends a boarding school in Wiltshire, England, and visits his home in the Algarve whenever he can.
Charlie is in need of sponsorship/funding. If you are interested in knowing more details about Charlie’s programme or wishing to help with his sponsorship please contact [email protected]