Kasete Skeen wants to become the first Tongan Olympic alpine skier

A Tongan man in Great Britain who lived in Notting Hill nearly all his life wanted to become the first to represent the kingdom of Tonga in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Kasete Skeen is Tongan through his father and has quit his job and taken up full-time training as he bids to achieve his goal.

According to getwestlondon the 34-year-old had been qualified to compete for Tonga.

He said:  “I’m not someone that’s been skiing all their life.

“I know I’ve got a mountain to climb, and I don’t just mean literally.”

He first went skiing as a 12-year-old on a trip when he was a pupil at Holland Park School, the paper said.

Over the years he improved but it was a chance comment to friends that set him on his Olympic dream.

He said: “As a joke I one day said I would ski for Tonga, and my friends thought I should do it but I brushed it aside.

“Then I went away on a ski trip and thought maybe this is something I could do.”

This happened less than a year ago. Since then, Kasete quit his job of nine years at Opera Holland Park and is now rarely home.

He said: “There are a lot of sacrifices to make. I’m away a lot.

“I’m currently in Austria for six weeks, then Sweden for a month and four months in Italy, before I head to New Zealand to train in the southern hemisphere winter.

“My girlfriend is still in London working and my friends and family are there too.

“At the moment I’m in a small apartment in the Alps on my own.

“I’ve gone from being surrounded by houses to being surrounded my mountains.”

And he is aware of the improvements he still needs to make: “I was a reasonable recreational skier but there’s a big leap between that and throwing yourself down a mountain at 100mph and really going for it.

Kasete has until about a month before the start of the games to achieve the points total needed to qualify, and he knows it’s not going to be easy.

He said: “I’m training every day to get myself up to standard.

“I’m doing basic technique training, then race training in a few weeks time.

“Then I’ll be racing in January.

“My coach has told me if I work hard and do the right stuff I will be able to qualify.”

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