A TEENAGE skiing star from South Tyneside can follow her dreams after landing a prestigious scholarship.
Champion skier Emma Peters, was facing the tough decision between following her sport or her studies, until a Swiss college stepped in.
The 16-year-old and her family thought there was nothing to lose by applying for a scholarship to the £42,000-a-year international boarding school, Aiglon College in Villars, Switzerland.
And they were overjoyed when, impressed by Emma’s skiing success, the teen was offered a two-year scholarship to study the International Baccalaureat at the college, which is a short walk from the mountain slopes where she can train four times a week.
Emma, who lives in Cleadon, said: “I got word to say I had an interview, but they warned the scholarships had already been given out. I couldn’t believe it when I got word to say they were going to give me the scholarship, I had to keep re-reading the e-mail.”
The teenager, who has just left Whitburn Academy and is waiting for her GCSE results, wanted to continue studying to fulfill her aim of becoming a doctor.
But, because of the gruelling training regime, including spending up to 12 weeks every year on the slopes in Austria, colleges in the area said they wouldn’t allow her that much time away.
She said: “This is fantastic, that I can study and train. I am so excited about going, but nervous as well.”
Once in Switzerland, Emma will be trained by the same coach as world No1 ski cross champion, Fanny Smith, and there is already a four-year training plan in place to get the youngster to the Winter Olympics in 2018.
Emma said although she will miss her friends and family, mum, Tina, dad, Ged, and 21-year-old brother, Jack, the move to Aiglon College at the end of the summer is a massive opportunity.
Emma, who recently retained her Overall Champion title at the English Ski and Boardercross Championships in Manchester, is one of the brightest skiing prospects in the country.
Having a clutch of gold medals, she is already a triple English National senior squad athlete in Alpine, Freestyle and AS, but ski cross – a recognised Winter Olympics event – is her passion.
Her most recent successes include winning the Women’s Overall Category in the Great Britain GBR Indoor Slalom Series and being the youngest competitor at the World Freestyle Junior championships in Italy, where she came a creditable 18th.