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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 21:54 GMT
Blind skier sets new world record
Kevin Alderton
Kevin Alderton says skiing turned his life around after the attack
A blind skier from Kent left with 4% vision after an attack by a gang eight years ago, has set the world's first indoor blind skiing speed record.

Kevin "Cannonball" Alderton, from Dartford, reached a speed of 56.36mph (90.7km/h) at the 569yds (520m) indoor slope at Landgraaf in Holland.

He set the outdoor speed skiing world record for a blind person last April.

"I'm over the moon. I can't believe how much my life has changed since taking up skiing," he said.

Mr Alderton was left with only 4% of his vision after his eyes were gouged when he tried to stop a gang attacking a woman in 1998.

I have one-upmanship now on the people who blinded me
Kevin Alderton

He was punched and kicked to the ground by about 30 men during the attack in London.

Afterwards he had nine operations in seven months to repair his detached retinas, dislodged lenses and a split cornea.

Mr Alderton skis with the aid of a guide who sends him commands via a radio link.

He believes he is the first British skier ever to gain two world records.

"It humbles me a bit - I'm gobsmacked," he told the BBC.

He now wants to beat both his indoor and outdoor records and is hoping to be selected for the British team in the 2008 World Championships and the 2010 Paralympics in Canada.

He said indoor skiing was "a bit like doing 50 to 60 mph inside a fridge".

Kevin Alderton
Kevin Alderton is hoping to be selected for the 2010 Paralympics

He said he was glad to be seen as a role model for other disabled sportsmen and women.

"It's a great thing if I can inspire somebody to take up a sport or push themselves in sport," he said.

A keen skier before the attack, he said taking the sport up again had made him feel good about himself in ways he had never expected.

"When I lost my sight, I felt that the world had been ripped from underneath my feet," he said.

"But I have one-upmanship now on the people who blinded me.

"Eight years on since the accident I have two world records and I'm looking to join the Paralympic team.

"It's all good - who's the winner now?"


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