Winter Paralympics Millie Knight
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Winter Paralympics: How The Military's Athletes Fared

After the Winter Paralympics drew to a close, Forces Network has taken a look at how the British military athletes got on...

Winter Paralympics Millie Knight

After the Winter Paralympics drew to a close, Forces Network has taken a look at how the British military athletes got on.

With a record 48 countries taking part, 567 athletes competed for medals in six Paralympic sports - Alpine skiing, snowboarding, Para-ice hockey, wheelchair curling and Nordic skiing.

ParalympicGB had a successful Games, winning seven medals.

Cath Brazier spoke to the forces contingent at Heathrow Airport as they arrived back on UK soil:

Just take a look below to find out how the UK military athletes performed, meanwhile, starting with a successful first day of competition...

Day One

 

Millie Knight and Brett Wild: Visually Impaired Downhill Skiing (Silver)

Teenager Millie Knight landed Great Britain's first medal of the Winter Paralympics with a "phenomenal" silver in the visually impaired downhill skiing.

Racing with Royal Navy submariner guide Brett Wild, Knight banished memories of a painful crash on the same Pyeongchang course during last year's World Cup finals that caused her to suffer a concussion.

She said Saturday's podium finish was "the best feeling in the world".

Knight and Wild clocked one minute and 30.58 seconds, a time beaten only by Slovakian Henrieta Farkasova and her guide Natalia Subrtova.

Able Seaman Wild, a 23-year-old steward on HMS Ambush, guided Millie on the slopes at the recent World Cup in Austria and then Aspen, winning the downhill race and then the overall super- G.

He said: "It was phenomenal for us to be back where we wanted to be and be back in the mix."

GB teammate Menna Fitzpatrick, with Army guide Jen Kehoe, crashed early in the race.

Scott Meenagh: Para-Nordic Skiing (18th place)

Scotsman Scott Meenagh said there was "such a buzz" on his Paralympics debut as he came home 18th in the sitting 7.5km biathlon.

The 28-year-old former paratrooper lost his legs after stepping on an explosive while serving in Afghanistan seven years ago.

Scott Meenagh

He became the first Briton to compete in the biathlon at the Paralympics since Terry Ahrens 20 years ago.

"It feels amazing, absolutely incredible," Meenagh said.

"It's so different at a Paralympics and to be there with some of the best people in the world was an absolute privilege and it brought another level out of me today."

Day Two

 

Millie Knight & Brett Wild (Silver), Jen Kehoe & Menna Fitzpatrick (Bronze): Skiing Super-G

There was more success for Brett Wild and Millie Knight, as the able seaman guided Knight to a second silver medal in 24 hours in the super-G skiing, with a time of 1:33.76.

They finished behind Slovakia's Henrietta Farkasova, who took gold once again with her guide Natalia Subrtova in a time of 1:30.17. Knight said:

"I can't believe that this has happened again. It's amazing, it really is. I was quite nervous in the start gate today, a little bit more so than yesterday, but to get that result is fantastic."

"If I'd thought I would have two medals in two days at the Paralympics I would have said you are crazy. This time four years ago I was sat in the crowd watching Kelly (Gallagher) win gold and now I've made the podium myself", she added.

AB Wild said: "It's amazing to be back on the podium today."

There was also a better result for Jen Kehoe and Menna Fitzpatrick, with the Army guide leading Fitzpatrick to the bronze medal.

They finished behind teammates Millie and Brett, with a time of 1:34.54.

Royal Engineers officer Kehoe said: "After the downhill yesterday we just had a cup of tea and a chat with our sport psychologist who just helped us to think about all of the positives that we have had from this season and the success that we have had.

"It was about knowing we can do it and just getting on the hill and doing it and not try and do anything clever or special."

"It's been amazing to get over that finish line and I can't tell you how happy I am to do that."

Defending champion Kelly Gallagher, guided by the RAF's Gary Smith, was eighth.

Day Three

 

Owen Pick: Snowboard Cross

 

Owen Pick 2018 Winter Paralympics

Afghanistan veteran Owen Pick said he was "pretty gutted" he failed to reach the quarter-finals of the snowboard cross event at the Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang.

The 26-year-old, who lost a limb after being injured by an IED at the age of 18, was beaten to the line in his 1/8 final by Argentina's Carlos Javier Codina Thomatis.

The Royal Anglian Regiment veteran, who was chosen to carry the GB flag, said:

"I was pretty gutted after that. I was feeling really good after my qualification runs and that race is one I think I would normally win."

Day Three

 

Jen Kehoe & Menna Fitzpatrick (Silver): Skiing Super Combined

 

Menna Fitzpatrick & Jen Kehoe 2018

Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe took silver in the super combined event, taking their medal tally to two.

Royal Engineers officer Kehoe (above left) added: "Our big thing is going out there and enjoying it and in this race we can say we've done that.

"We were confident. We went through a really good routine to get our frame of mind in the right place and we treated that last slalom as if it was a training run.

"It was about putting in a good performance and not worrying about anyone else, that takes the pressure off and meant that we were able to focus on just skiing well."

"We've worked a lifetime for this. You dream of having a gold medal and it does go to your mind but we're not thinking about that right now."

ParalympicsGB teammate Millie Knight took fourth place in the super combined, which incorporates both super-G and slalom skiing, guided by Brett Wild.

Gary Smith guided Kelly Gallagher to seventh in the super combined and eighth in the super-G.

Scott Meenagh (13th Place): 12.5km Biathlon

 

 

Scott Meenagh took 13th place in the 12.5km biathlon with a time of 54:52.9 - five places better than his finish in the 7.5km biathlon.

He also took 17th place in the 15km cross-country skiing and will compete in three more events this week.

The 28-year-old said of his 13th-place finish:

"You've just got to keep working until you cross that line because you get nothing for free out there today. I am pretty happy with the way I committed myself out there.

"I've raced a lot this week so I'm pretty fatigued but I'm happy with how I did."

Day Four

 

Jen Kehoe & Menna Fitzpatrick (Silver): Women's VI Giant Slalom Skiing

 

Jen Kehoe and Menna Fitzpatrick Winter Paralympics

Image courtesy of ParalympicsGB via Flickr

Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe brought the ParalympicsGB medal tally to five after taking silver in the women's VI giant slalom.

The duo took to the slopes of the Jeongseon Alpine Centre in Pyongchang, clocking an impressive 1:14.45 in their first run, taking second place behind the imperious Henrieta Farkasova and guide Natalia Subrtova.

But it was their second run that delighted Fitzpatrick most as they shaved 0.56 seconds off their time to cross in 1:13.89 and secure silver.

Kelly Gallagher and the Gary Smith produced their best skiing of the Games, meanwhile, to clock a combined time of 2:32.79 and take fifth.

Double PyeongChang silver medallists Millie Knight and Brett Wild finished in seventh.

Scott Meenagh (16th Place): Cross-Country Skiing 1.1km Sprint

 

 

Meenagh completed his fourth race in five days at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre.

With soft snow and temperatures rising in Pyeongchang he was faced with another testing race as he lined up for the men's cross-country skiing 1.1km sprint.

It proved to be yet more evidence that Meenagh is right at home at this level as he clocked 3:17.72 to finish 16th in the qualification runs - four places away from a semi-final spot.

Day Four

 

Owen Pick: Snowboard Cross

 

 

Army veteran snowboarder Owen Pick vowed not to give up on his Paralympic dream after failing to medal in his debut Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Pick's opening time of 52.81 left him seventh in the banked slalom event but a fall on his second run left him with it all to do and a final time of 53.26 was not enough to trouble the top of the table.

The pioneering team of Pick, James Barnes-Miller and Ben Moore will be remembered as the first to ever represent Britain in snowboarding at the Paralympic Games.

However, it wasn't to be for the trio, with Moore and Barnes-Miller finishing seventh and 10th respectively in the SB-UL class, while Pick was ninth in the SB-LL2.

He said: "I'll definitely go again for sure. I'm glad we've shown Britain we can do this. I'm just sad we couldn't do better.

"I'll get over it. I'm hard on myself but I set myself a challenge. You're told you can't do certain things because of your injury and I want to prove them wrong.

"I haven't got a choice whether I continue. I can't leave it. I'm one of those people who sets themselves a goal and I haven't achieved that goal. I’ll be back."

After missing out on the podium places in snowboard cross earlier this week, the trio's chance to secure a medal came down to three runs in the banked slalom.

Gold ultimately went to Japan's Gurimu Narita, while USA's Evan Strong won silver and Finland's Matti Suur-Hamari took bronze, however.

Scott Meenagh (14th Place): 15km Sitting Biathlon

 

 

There's wasn't much that could ruin the mood for Scott Meenagh, however.

He put in a display that bodes well for the future in the men's 15km biathlon sitting, in his penultimate race of competition.

Meenagh found his groove early at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre, shooting clean on his first two trips to the range and sitting within the top 10 heading into the midpoint of the race.

With windy conditions to contend with, Meenagh picked up three penalties on his third prone stage and another two on his final shoot.

That set the Scot back and he eventually crossed in a time of 58:58.1 to finish 14th, with gold going to Germany's Martin Fleig, while the USA's Daniel Cnossen took silver and Canada's Colin Cameron snatched bronze. Meenagh said:

"You couldn't slap the smile off my face today, I'm really happy. It was on after two shoots, I really thought I was in a strong position."

Day Five

 

Jen Kehoe & Menna Fitzpatrick (Gold): Visually-Impaired Slalom

 

 

Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe became Paralympic slalom champions and Britain's most decorated Paralympic winter athletes of all time by taking slalom gold. Kehoe said:

"Words don't even cover what we're feeling right now. It hasn't properly sunk [in] and we left everything out there on that hill. We fought right to the very end."

"After the super-combined slalom we knew that it was close. We knew it was possible to beat Henrieta because we have done that this season. We just went for it and did everything that was in our control."

The medal, along with Millie Knight and Brett Wild's bronze - their third medal - took the UK's total medal tally to seven at the end of the Games.

There was a solid finish to the Games for Kelly Gallagher and Gary Smith, meanwhile, who took sixth place.

Scott Meenagh (14th Place): 7.5km Cross-Country

 

 

Meenagh closed out his Paralympic Games with the men's 7.5km cross-country, where he clocked 25:17.5 to finish in 14th.

That race meant Meenagh had skied close to 60km over the course of his races, as well as becoming the first man for 20 years to represent Great Britain in Para-Nordic skiing at a Paralympic Games. He said:

"The body is pretty bashed up but if I wasn't feeling it now then I wouldn't have given it 100%. I'm strapped up to the max but you need to be willing to put yourself in a dark place sometimes.

"It's going to take me a while to come down from cloud nine. If you gave me a couple days of rest then I'd be wanting to do this all over again."

"I just love the drive in this environment. It's just incredible and the spirit of it all made me quite emotional this morning just thinking about the bigger picture and how significant the Paralympics are.

"That really knocked into me this morning and I was really proud I could take to this stage and show some of my spirit and share some of my journey.

"I will continue to do this. I love doing this racing and it's a pretty satisfying way to compete."

South Korea's Eui Hyn Sin took gold, with the USA's Daniel Cnossen second and Ukraine's Maksym Yarovyi third.

Cover picture courtesy of PA.

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