Jarrod’s golden slalom run

Jarrod Gilbert, far left, celebrates winning one of his two gold medals. Photo: Supplied.

Jarrod Gilbert is about to trade the cold winter air of Wanaka for the warmer waters of the pool at Livingstone Aquatic Centre.

And the Special Olympics Te Awamutu athlete will do so with two new gold medals in his possession, having also staked a rather strong claim to be in contention for selection for the World Winter Games in Turin, Italy in 2025.

Jarrod swims competitively under coach Shelley Blair, but last week he swapped the pool for the slopes and the snowboard.

At the Special Olympics National Winter Games at Wanaka’s Cardrona Alpine Resort, Jarrod won the SB snowboarding intermediate giant slalom event with a combined time over two runs of 1 minute, 18.67 seconds.

He also won the SB snowboard cross with a combined two-run time of 1 minute, 28.59 seconds.

Both events were closely fought battles between he and the games’ other Waikato entrant – and silver medallist in both disciplines – Hamilton’s Kaa Dekker.

“I love snowboarding, it’s a really fun way to hang out with all my friends,” Jarrod – who works at the Cambridge Velodrome – said.

Around 50 athletes from 18 clubs were expected to compete at this year’s national games, which wrapped up on Friday.

They are held every four years.

The squad to compete in Italy is set to be announced in late 2024 – with Jarrod keen to add to his success on the world stage.

He won a gold and bronze medal in snowboarding at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria in 2017.

The 2021 World Winter Games were cancelled due to Covid.

Meanwhile, in the pool, Jarrod was one of 20 athletes Shelley helped prepare to swim in at the National Summer Games in Hamilton in December.

Unsurprisingly – under Shelley’s watchful eye – Jarrod’s also finding success in the pool, so he’s looking forward to diving into his swimming aspirations again.

“Shelley’s such an awesome coach,” he said.

Jarrod Gilbert celebrates his gold medal in the SB snowboarding intermediate giant slalom event at last week’s Special Olympics National Winter Games. Photo: Special Olympics New Zealand.

More Recent Sports

Waipā star Kango for it

Waikato interest in the biggest event of Cambridge Raceway’s calendar tomorrow has been boosted following a late withdrawal. Kango, trained at Cambridge Raceway by Arna Donnelly, is a  late starter in the feature race following…

Central wins in Kihikihi

A Cambridge Central combination won a successful tournament at Kihikihi last week. Skip Laurie Roycroft, with Ron Greenwood and Dennis Wilcock , secured first prize with four wins, 22 ends and 49 points. They headed…

Kicking the monkey to touch

At 2pm on March 19, a dozen boys in maroon and yellow sports uniforms huddle on a sideline at Albert Park, completely absorbed in their coach Matiu Paraone’s words. Experience has prepared the Te Awamutu…

Birthday on the runway

Kenzie Pivott was up early on Sunday for her birthday. But there was another reason for the Te Awamutu 12-year-old to be ready for a big day – it was starting with a run around…