Trinidad and Tobago’s first ever cross-country skiing representative, Mark Rajack, made his brave World Ski Championships debut in Falun, Sweden, last week.
His competitive showing at this esteemed international event broke new ground for sport development in the twin-island republic, since Rajack became TT’s first ever representative in professional skiing (snow). At the Championships on February 19, Rajack finished 121st overall in the discipline of SP C qualification round, which was eventually his final result. One day prior, Rajack also earned a fair 59th place in the International Skiing Federation 10km F category. Altogether, the 33-year-old dual citizen of Canada amassed 482.04 points from his first result and bagged 8-7.76 more in the latter.
The promising athlete was introduced to cross-country skiing a few years ago while working for Fresh Air Experience Ottawa – a store that specialises in cross-country skis and bicycles. He is the lone member of the Trinidad and Tobago National Cross-Country Ski Team.
In a recent interview on Ski Trax.com prior to the start of Worlds last week, Mark, who migrated when he was six years old confessed that, “most people of Caribbean descent have a negative outlook on winter and there’s no way I would have imagined this happening.
“Part of being a new Canadian means you have to adapt or find ways to cope with the climate. For me, it was cross country skiing. And it’s come to the point now where I can’t live anywhere that doesn’t have snow,” he added
Rajack’s interest and dedication to the sport of cross-country skiing was recognised by XC Ottawa – the city’s premier racing team and home to some of Canada’s top skiers — which he eventually joined to develop his racing abilities. A Carleton University alum, Rajack also received a tremendous amount of coaching and training from members of Carleton’s Nordic ski team, where the head coach, Nic Clifford, said: “Even in the bitter cold, he’s often the most enthusiastic to be out skiing, and it really lifts everyone’s spirits on those tough days.”
His next goal is to represent TT in the 2018 Winter Olympics – a plan he never thought would be possible. Rajack returned to his home-base in Canada over the weekend and was back to work yesterday after his hectic World Championships campaign.