If you visit Georgia’s winter resort of Gudauri, chances are you will be sharing slopes with a teenage athlete already boasting the title of a national champion in freestyle.
Rezi Burduli, a native of the highland village of Arakhveti, located 100km north of capital Tbilisi, is the subject of a new video that went viral on social media in the country on Thursday.
The 12-year old hails from the village just 15km outside Gudauri, where he was crowned a freestyle champion at last year’s Slopestyle Cup.
The youngest participant of the event, 11 at the time, was a darling of the competition and his win was celebrated by senior athletes who threw Burduli up in the air.
He was dubbed “discovery of the year” by organisers and the wider public at the competition hosted by White Rabbit Parks, a group working on construction of extreme sports parks and hosting competitions.
Burduli’s win was also recognised by the Georgian national ski team, who picked the teenager to accompany them on a flight to their training session in Austria as their present.
The video profile shows Burduli speak about his passion for freestyle skiing, telling producers he remembers having already been good with skis at the age of eight.
The young athlete also talks about having discovered freestyle — a winter olympics discipline involving a range of techniques designed for showcasing acrobatic talents of participants — when he was nine.
Skiing, jumping, being in the air — it’s a great feeling, it’s adrenaline and I like it.
I can ride all day long without eating anything. I like it so much I do not pay attention to hunger — I just want to ski all the time,” Burduli says while sharing his excitement with his hobby.
The young competitor’s native village being next to one of the country’s principal winter resorts and skiing destinations, it was only natural he chose extreme winter sports as his hobby early on.
Much of Burduli’s training in his native surroundings is done in makeshift conditions, with the young sportsperson noting a lack of venues with trampoline in his locality as one of hindrances facing him.
The video profile for Burduli was produced by Film Asylum for TBC Bank, which has sponsored the skier as a recipient of its new annual stipend.
The bank selects young people with “extraordinary talents” to provide them with the grant over a year, with 200 recipients picked for 2019.