Tongan skier ready for World Champs return

Tongan skier Kasete Naufahu Skeen has a simple goal on his return to the Alpine World Ski Championships: to reach the finish line.

The 36 year old only returned to the slopes in December after rupturing his right anterior cruciate ligament during training in 2017.

Whilst undergoing his rehabilitation Skeen moved to Sweden, learned Swedish and took up a job in the Åre ski area to help fund his return to competition.

He failed to finish the men's giant slalom qualification race two years ago in St Moritz, where his performance was hampered by a fractured hand, after crashing out on his second qualifying run, but is feeling more confident leading into Thursday's race in Åre.

"Two years ago there were a lot more unknowns, in terms of what I was going into, and I think (being in Åre, where I rekindled my love for the sport) it's kind of definitely felt me feel kind of more secure and a greater sense of calm with what I'm doing," he said.

"I think it's quite difficult to be consistent at my level at the moment and so I'm just looking for a performance that's kind of at the upper end of what I'm able to do."

120 skiers will line-up at the start-line for the men's giant slalom qualification run and Skeen said he had a good chance of advancing to the main World Championships event on Friday.

"So long as I start the qualification race then I should be able to enter the main event in one of the nations slots," he said.

"The first 50 fastest races automatically go in and then they have another 25 places reserved for countries that have one skier representing them."