By CAM FORTEMS
Daily News Staff Reporter
A Kamloops high school student with a neurological disorder has progressed from skiing with the safety of a tether to freely carving parallel turns at Sun Peaks.
Now Pramod Thapa will be included in filming and final ceremonies for the 2010 Paralympics Saturday.
Jim Knowles, a Kamloops realtor who is active with Sun Peaks Adaptive Sports, has become close to the 17-year-old from Nepal. He is also part of a party of six from Kamloops in the Paralympics closing ceremonies.
The others are Dick and Terry Taylor, who have assisted daily during the two-week games at Whistler Village as well as Tammy and Gord Leary, who operate a group home here.
Thapa has cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects muscle co-ordination and body movement. He came with his parents to Kamloops last year from Nepal.
Knowles said the family lives in a hotel room in Kamloops and Pramod’s activities and friendships have been limited by his command of English and physical disability.
“I got a call from the school (SaHali secondary) and they said ‘you’ve got to get this kid out of his hotel room,’” Knowles explained of his introduction to Thapa.
The idea was to introduce Thapa to skiing, a natural for Knowles since he was a guide and an active volunteer helping people with disabilities learn to navigate the slopes.
“He’s skiing far past tethers. We’ve got him skiing blue (intermediate) runs and parallel turning for slalom and giant slalom.
Knowles said Thapa’s goal Is to compete in the 2014 Paralympic Games, held in Soichi, Russia along with the Winter Olympics.
The six Kamloops residents, clad in Sun Peaks Adaptive Sports uniforms, will take part in a torchlight descent late Saturday at Whistler that will be filmed by CTV for broadcast in Sunday’s closing ceremonies, being televised nationally.
Knowles said the opportunity to take part in the games is giving Thapa – whom he described as “smart, happy and energetic” — as well as volunteers in Kamloops a huge lift.
The pair went mountain biking Thursday, after Knowles picked Thapa up from school.
They went on a hike earlier this month.
“He’s no different than any other kid. He was picking up branches on dead trees to see how many he could break.”