BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2019: Menna Fitzpatrick profile

Menna Fitzpatrick (left) and guide Jen Kehoe are the first British skiers to win both Paralympic and world titles
Menna Fitzpatrick (left) and guide Jen Kehoe are the first British skiers to win both Paralympic and world titles
BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year award 2019
Venue: Celtic Manor Resort, Newport Date: Tuesday, 10 December
Coverage: Results and updates on BBC Wales Today, the BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru

Menna Fitzpatrick and guide Jennifer Kehoe continued to blaze a trail in skiing with success at the 2019 Para-alpine World Championships.

The pair claimed two golds, two silvers and a bronze at the event held jointly in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, and Sella Nevea, Italy - in the process becoming the first British skiers to win both Paralympic and world titles.

Fitzpatrick, 21, who is visually impaired, and Kehoe, 36, came into January's Championships as one of the favourites, having claimed four medals at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, including gold in the slalom.

The pair began in Slovenia by winning bronze in the women's giant slalom (GS) and followed that up with silver in the slalom.

When the competition switched to Italy for the speed events, Fitzpatrick and Kehoe hit their stride by claiming the downhill title, with British team-mates Kelly Gallagher and her guide Gary Smith taking silver.

Fitzpatrick and Kehoe then won a second gold in the super giant slalom (super-G), adding another silver in the super combined - which sees times from the super-G combined with the slalom - for good measure.

Returning to the World Cup circuit, the pair brought the curtain down on their campaign in the Finals in March. On the French slopes of Morzine where she learned to ski, Fitzpatrick took a silver and a gold in the two slalom races.

Menna Fitzpatrick (left) and guide Jen Kehoe have been competing at World Cup level since 2016
Menna Fitzpatrick (left) and guide Jen Kehoe have been competing at World Cup level since 2016

Born with congenital retinal folds, Fitzpatrick has no vision in her left eye and limited sight in her right.

That did not stop her going on family ski holidays from the age of five, skiing behind her father and falling in love with the sport.

In October 2010 she was spotted by a coach at the Chill Factore indoor snow dome in Manchester and began training regularly with the British Para Snowsport team.

Fitzpatrick made her senior international debut for Great Britain in 2012 and in March 2016, she and Kehoe made history by becoming the first British skiers to win the overall World Cup visually impaired title in Aspen, USA.

It came in the then 17-year-old's first season competing at World Cup level, with the duo also picking up the GS overall title, silver in the overall super-G and bronze in the overall downhill and slalom events.

Fitzpatrick suffered a broken hand after falling during super-G training in October ahead of the 2016-17 season. She required surgery and was unable to train on the snow for eight weeks.

But despite that injury, at the 2017 Para Alpine Skiing World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, in January Fitzpatrick and Kehoe claimed bronze in the GS, with British team-mate Knight taking silver in that race.

Fitzpatrick and Kehoe had begun the 2017-18 season in superb fashion, winning two silvers and two bronzes at the opening World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup event in Kuhtai, Austria.

Several rounds of the World Cup fell victim to adverse weather conditions that season, but Fitzpatrick and Kehoe added two more silvers, in GS and slalom, in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, before the tour headed to Canada for the finals in February.

In the last major event to be held before the Paralympics, the pair were crowned overall super-G champions in Kimberley, giving them extra impetus as they finalised their preparations for the 2018 Winter Paralympics in South Korea.

Fitzpatrick and Kehoe made history in Pyeongchang as they claimed four medals to become Britain's most successful winter Paralympians.

The pair claimed silvers in the GS and super combined, plus bronze in the super-G and going into the final day of competition had one more chance of glory in the slalom.

Great Britain were still without a gold and things did not seem to be going their way after the first run, as Fitzpatrick and Kehoe trailed Slovakia's Henrieta Farkasova and Natalia Subrtova, who were chasing their fifth gold of the Games.

But in the second run Fitzpatrick turned that deficit on its head to win, as Farkasova failed to match her gliding skills on the flat portion of the course and from being 0.66 sec ahead found herself behind the Briton by the same margin to settle for silver.

Fitzpatrick and Kehoe's achievement was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June, with both receiving the MBE.

After two years on top of the world, the pair are preparing for when the new World Cup season starts in January 2020.

Voting for BBC Cymru Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2019 opened at 07:30 GMT on Monday, 2 December and closed at 18:00 GMT on Sunday, 8 December.

Full voting terms and conditions are available on the BBC website here and will also be carried on radio and television.

The winner will be unveiled on Tuesday, 10 December.

This event is not connected with the UK Sports Personality of the Year and is for the Wales award only.