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Biathlon

Men's downhill standing medallist highlights | Alpine skiing | Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games

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Bronze - Vincent GAUTHIER-MANUEL - France Silver - Alexey BUGAEV - Russia Gold - Markus SALCHER - Austria To see the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games schedule, results, medals table and details of where to watch on TV, please visit http://www.paralympic.org. For details on Paralympic classification, please visit: http://www.paralympic.org/classification

Biathlon moment of day 1 | Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games

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Hometown favourite Lekomtcev wins in front of an adoring crowd of fans in the hard fought men's 7.5 km standing Biatholon. Lekomtcev - Russia- Gold Arendz - Canada - Silver Karachurin - Russia - Gold To see the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games schedule, results, medals table and details of where to watch on TV, please visit http://www.paralympic.org. For details on Paralympic classification, please visit: http://www.paralympic.org/classification

Andrea Eskau

Andrea Eskau

Russia pick up nine biathlon medals on Day 1

Roman Petushkov and Mikhalina Lysova both stormed to gold in their opening events at the Laura Cross-Country and Biathlon Centre.

Roman Petushkov Roman Petushkov of Russia celebrates victory in the men's 7.5km sitting biathlon during Day 1 of Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. © • Getty Images
By Nate Williams | For the IPC

"I dedicate this medal to my mother and my family. I give my thanks to my mother for caring for me when I was in the hospital."

Roman Petushkov kick-started a dominant day for the Russian team on Saturday (8 March), as they collected nine medals in the biathlon competition to open the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Petushkov, Alena Kaufman, Mikhalina Lysova and Vladislav Lekomtcev all won gold as Russia dominated the top of the podium. The rest of the Russian total was made up of four silvers and a bronze medal.

Petushkov claimed his first ever Paralympic gold medal with a flawless performance in the men’s 7.5km sitting event. He did not miss a single shot at the range and crossed the line in 21:03.7, eight seconds ahead of Ukraine’s silver medallist Maksym Yarovyi. Japan’s Kozo Kubo finished in 21:45.6 to collect the bronze medal.

Petushkov lost his legs in a car accident back in 2006 and decided to dedicate his very special win to his mother on International Women’s Day.

"I dedicate this medal to my mother and my family. I give my thanks to my mother for caring for me when I was in the hospital,” Petushkov said.

In the women’s 6km standing event, Kaufman and Anna Milenina provided the host nation with its first one-two finish. Kaufman finished in 18:27.2 with her compatriot Melinina reaching the end of the course 30 seconds later after missing two of her shots on the range.

Ukraine’s two-time Paralympian Iuliia Batenkova added a fifth bronze medal to take her total Paralympic tally to 10 medals.

"Third place is normal for me, but today is just the first day of competition which is for warming up for the bigger races,” Batenkova said.

Russia also claimed a one-two finish in the women’s 6km visually impaired biathlon through world champion Lysova and Iuliia Budaleeva. Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova stopped any chance of a Russian sweep as she beat Elena Remizova for third place.

Lysova was almost two minutes ahead at the 4km stage, allowing her to finish in first place without any pressure. She finished the course with guide Alexey Ivanov in 20:03.2. Budaleeva and her guide Tatiana Maltseva followed in 20:31.7. Shyshkova finished almost 20 seconds (20:49.0) behind.

Another Russian, Nikolay Polukhin, began his quest to better his tally of six medals from the Vancouver 2010 Games by claiming a silver in the men’s 7.5km visually impaired biathlon.

He was beaten by Ukrainian Vitaliy Lukyanenko who crossed the line in a time of 20:18.8. Polukhin and his guide Andrey Tokarev followed 10 seconds later with Vasili Shaptsiaboi from Belarus claiming the bronze.

In the women’s 6km sitting event, Germany’s Andrea Eskau joined a unique list of summer and winter Paralympic gold medallists.

The 42-year-old, who also won two gold medals in handcycling at London 2012, led all the way along the course to finish in an impressive time of 19:12.4 and earn her first Winter Paralympic gold.

Russia’s Svetlana Konovalova followed Eskau in 19:31.1, while Ukraine’s Vancouver 2010 gold medallist Olena Iurkovska finished eight seconds (19:39.6) behind for a bronze medal

“I want to win another gold tomorrow,” Eskau said after the race.

Reigning world champion Mark Arendz from Canada had to settle for silver in the men’s 7.5km standing biathlon, as the 23-year-old watched Russia’s Vladislav Lekomtcev cross the line for gold in 19:13.7.

Nonetheless, Arendz managed to drive himself home in 19:14.4 with Russian Azat Karachurin finishing 0.5 seconds later for bronze.

Roman Petushkov

Roman Petushkov

What to watch: Day 1 at Sochi 2014

The first day of action includes, Jon Santacana Maiztegui, Nikolay Polukhin and Seung-Hwan Jung.

Nikolay Polukhin Nikolay Polukhin has been Russia's top biathlon competitor over the last Paralympic cycle. © • Getty Images
By IPC

The men’s 7.5km visually impaired event will draw the most appeal, as Russia’s Nikolay Polukhin is the two-time defending world champion in the event won six medals in Nordic skiing at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics.

Morning

Start your day off by tuning into the men’s and women’s downhill races across all classes. In particular, fans are eager to see if Spain’s visually impaired skier Jon Santacana Maiztegui can come back from an Achilles tendon injury that has sidelined him for the last six months. He is hoping to win his second consecutive gold in the event, as he goes up against Italy’s Alessandro Daldoss, who just won the 2013-14 IPC Alpine Skiing men’s overall title for the season. France’s Marie Bochet, Great Britain’s Kelly Gallagher and the USA’s Alana Nichols will be top athletes to watch on the women’s side.

Afternoon

Tune into the first day of the biathlon competition, where host nation Russia are hoping to rack up the medals. The men’s 7.5km visually impaired event will draw the most appeal, as Russia’s Nikolay Polukhin is the two-time defending world champion in the event won six medals in Nordic skiing at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics. Men’s sit skier Roman Petushkov and women’s visually impaired skier Mikhalina Lysova will make their first Sochi 2014 appearance for the host nation as well.

Evening

The day finishes with two of the world’s most-improved ice sledge hockey teams taking to the ice at 20:00 (MSK), as host nation Russia faces South Korea. Russia won bronze at the last World Championships after just starting up a team a little more than four years ago, while Korea won the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Qualification Tournament last weekend. Two top forwards will be on display in this game in Russia’s Dmitry Lisov and South Korea’s Seung-Hwan Jung.

Russia looking for biathlon medals on Day 1

Top Russian skiers Roman Petushkov and Mikhalina Lysova will highlight the first day of the biathlon competition.

Mikhalina Lysova Mikhalina Lysova is expected to be the one to beat in the women's visually impaired cross-country skiing and biathlon events at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. © • Luc Percival
By Nate Williams | For the IPC

The Russians will be hoping to repeat their table-topping success from the Vancouver 2010 Games, as they collected five gold medals in an impressive total of 16 medals.

Russia will look to climb to the top of the medals table early on the first day of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games on Saturday (8 March) as they field top talent in biathlon competition.

The host nation’s biathlon team includes world champions Nikolay Polukhin, Roman Petushkov and Mikhalina Lysova.

The Russians will be hoping to repeat their table-topping success from the Vancouver 2010 Games - they they collected five gold medals and an impressive total of 16 medals in the sport - when the biathlon events will begin at 10:00 (MSK) at the Laura Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing Centre.

The Russian team will be led by visually impaired skier Polukhin, who won the most medals by any athlete on his Paralympic debut at Vancouver 2010. The 32-year-old prevailed with a triumphant haul of six medals including one gold, four silvers and one bronze.

Currently, he is the reigning world champion and ranked as the best athlete in his field, meaning he will hope to add to his remarkable tally on home snow.

However, Ukraine’s Anatolli Kovalevskyi will be tough to beat when they meet in the men’s 7.5km visually impaired race at 13:44 (MSK).

Petushkov, meanwhile, was crowned the 2013-14 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup winner in men’s sitting class earlier this year, but has yet to claim his first Paralympic gold. After losing both his legs in 2006, four years later he captured a silver medal in cross-country skiing and a bronze medal in biathlon at his Paralympic debut in 2010.

But winning his first Paralympic gold will not be an easy task as he faces tough competition from Japan’s Kozo Kubo and compatriot Grigory Murygin.

Kubo attained five podium finishes to rise to the top of the world rankings in the sitting class while Murygin, at just 18, collected a gold, silver and a bronze at the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships for Russia.

However, if Petushkov and Murygin get their tactics right, they could provide Russia with their first one-two finish in the men’s 7.5km sitting event, starting at around 10:25 (MSK).

In the men’s 7.5km standing event, Canada’s Mark Arendz will be hoping to add a Paralympic gold to the world title he won in 2013.

The 23-year-old will fight for gold against Russia’s Azat Karachurin and 19-year-old Ihor Reptyukh from Ukraine.

In the women’s 6km events, the Russian team also have a chance of their first sweep on the Paralympic podium.

Lysova, Luliia Budaleeva and Elena Remizova are ranked as the top three athletes in the women’s 6km visually impaired world rankings.

Lysova is the most likely to climb on to the top spot of the podium after being crowned the world champion in biathlon and cross-country skiing last year. She also has five Paralympic medals to her name from Vancouver 2010.

The Russian team may look set to run the show but the Ukrainians won’t let their rivals take a majority of the medals without putting up a fight.

Ukraine’s best hopes of getting a gold medal on Day 1 are through two women - Luliia Batenkova and Olena Lurkovska. They are both top in their classes and have competed at the last two Paralympic Winter Games.

At the Vancouver 2010 Games, Lurkovska added two more gold medals to the first gold medal she won at the 2006 Games. She competes in the women’s 6km sitting class, which is the first event of day one at around 10:00 (MSK).

On the other hand, Batenkova has yet to win a gold medal after collecting a combined total of five silver and four bronze medals from the last two Games.

Her event in the women’s 6km standing class will start at 12:00 (MSK).

Sochi 2014 Paralympic Opening Ceremony lights up Russia

Over the next nine days, 547 athletes from 45 countries will compete at the first Paralympic Winter Games ever held in Russia.

Fireworks go off to mark the beginning of the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Fireworks go off to mark the beginning of the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. © • Getty Images
By IPC

“Together you are the catalysts for change. United as one, you have the ability to change perceptions and alter attitudes like no other. You arrive here as the best prepared athletes ever to attend a Paralympic Winter Games. You will leave as role models, heroes, pioneers and most of all, Proud Paralympians.”

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games began with a stunning Opening Ceremony on Friday evening (7 March) at Fisht Stadium with a volunteer cast of more than 2,500 people from the Krasnodar region of Russia taking centre stage, and two-time Paralympic champion swimmer Olesya Vladykina and six-time Paralympic champion cross-country skier Sergey Shilov lighting the Paralympic cauldron.

With a theme of “Breaking The Ice,” the Opening Ceremony evoked the spirit of Russia and the importance of breaking down barriers and stereotypes faced by people around the world every day.

During his Opening Ceremony speech, IPC President Sir Philip Craven said: “Thirty-four years ago when the old Soviet Union declined the opportunity to stage the 1980 Paralympic Games in Moscow, the prospect of Russia staging its first Paralympic Games was nothing but a dream.

“But dreams do come true, and since winning the Games seven years ago, this part of Russia has undergone a monumental transformation. However, the biggest transformation for this country is still yet to come.

“In the same way that the city of Sochi has built a barrier free environment for athletes and officials to enjoy, I call upon all those who experience these Games to have barrier free minds, too.”

The Opening Ceremony began with 126 performers – dressed in red, white and blue – marching in perfectly synchronised formations to create dazzling patterns on the field of play and create a human wave of the Russian national flag.

The actual flag was then carried into the centre of the stadium by eight people who have been instrumental in improving the lives of people with an impairment in Russia. The Pan-Russian Choir sang a captivating a cappella version of the Russian national anthem.

Andree-Anne Gingras-Roy then played a glass organ that rose from underneath the stadium before 504 young ballerinas grace the stage to create patterns of snowflakes before forming the Paralympic Torch.

Athletes competing paraded through the central ramp of the stadium, with woodland magic creatures and spirit birds guiding them to their seating area.

Over the next nine days, these 547 athletes will compete for 72 sets of medals across five sports in what will be the first ever Paralympic Winter Games held in Russia.

With 55 countries broadcast the Sochi 2014 Paralympics and Paralympic.org live streaming more than 300 hours of HD coverage, the Games are expected to break all viewing records and top athletes will become household names around the world.

Sir Philip addressed the athletes, saying: “You have here superb sporting venues to express your amazing talents and live up to the Paralympic values of determination and courage, inspiration and equality.

“Together you are the catalysts for change. United as one, you have the ability to change perceptions and alter attitudes like no other.

“You arrive here as the best prepared athletes ever to attend a Paralympic Winter Games.

“You will leave as role models, heroes, pioneers and most of all, Proud Paralympians.”

Dmitriy Chernyshenko, President and CEO of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, said: “Thanks to the Paralympic Games, a new era in the history of Russia has begun, one without barriers and stereotypes. The Paralympic Games have changed us; they have changed our attitude to those close to us and ourselves. Together, we are learning to be more considerate and attentive to each other.”

After the Paralympic Flag entered the stadium and the Paralympic Agitos was created by 126 performers, the Athletes’ Oath was taken by Russian world champion alpine skier Valeriy Redkozubov, the Officials’ Oath by skiing judge Elena Mokerova and the Coaches’ Oath by Russian alpine skiing head coach Alexander Nazarov.

Pop singer Yulia Samoylova entertained the crowd with their stunning vocals later on in the evening, as 300 ice fisherman painted patterns across the stage. IPC Honorary Board member and opera singer Maria Guleghina sang to the audience on a giant ship as passed through the entire stadium, signifying breaking down barriers and tracing new paths for mankind.

The Ceremony culminated with a cast of more than 1,000 torchbearers celebrating the arrival of the Paralympic Torch in the stadium before it was lit by Vladykina and Shilov, and a spectacular fireworks display erupted across the Olympic Park.

IPC Nordic Worlds open in Solleftea

The 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships are taking place in Solleftea, Sweden, from 25 February to 5 March.

Russia's Roman Petushkov takes lead over teammate Irek Zaripov Russia's Roman Petushkov took gold and his teammate Irek Zaripov won bronze in the cross-country skiing long distance at the 2012-13 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in Cable, USA. © • James Netz
By IPC

“I am confident that many athletes will be using these Championships to check where they are at with their own preparations for next year, whilst keeping a close eye on the performances of their competitors."

The 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships were opened in Solleftea, Sweden, on Sunday (24 February) with a colourful ceremony.

From 25 February to 5 March, more than 150 athletes from 15 countries will compete for podium places in cross-country skiing and biathlon events just one year before the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games take place.

Rita van Driel, IPC Governing Board member, said: “In just over one year’s time most of us will be getting ready for the next Paralympic Winter Games.

“I am confident that many athletes will be using these Championships to check where they are at with their own preparations for next year, whilst keeping a close eye on the performances of their competitors.

“Since the 2011 World Championships in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, a number of great rivalries have developed on the nordic skiing circuit and I expect these to take centre stage here this week.

“I’m also delighted at some of the new young talent emerging and believe some of them will surprise us here in Solleftea by coming out of nowhere to win a medal or even a world title.”

One of the rivalries to look out for is between two Russian sit-skiers. Multiple Paralympic and world champion Irek Zaripov will be challenged by his compatriot Roman Petushkov, as he tries to defend his gold medals from the last World Championships.

All events from the Championships will be streamed live on the IPC’s YouTube channel, www.YouTube.com/ParalympicSportTV.

For more information on the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships, please visit the event website at www.ipcnordicskiingworlds.org.

You can also follow the action on Twitter @IPCNordic and like the sport’s Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/IPCNordicSkiing.

Top 10 rivalries at Sochi 2014

Find out what will be the best athlete rivalries to watch across all Paralympic sports from 7-16 March.

A picture of a man in a sledge skiing Japan’s Kozo Kubo won the sitting category in the long distance biathlon in Cable, Wisconsin, USA. © • Arja Korhonen
By IPC

There will be 547 athletes from 45 countries competing at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Alpine skiing

Anna Schaffelhuber (Germany) – Claudia Loesch (Austria)

The two will be battling all week long the slopes for the top spot on the podium in the women’s sitting class. Schaffelhuber has dominated the 2013-14 IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup circuit, but is still in search of her first Paralympic title. Loesch, despite coming in second and third most of this season, has two Paralympic titles to her name and won three events at the 2013 World Championships.

Marie Bochet (France) – Andrea Rothfuss (Germany)

While everyone will be looking to upset favoured six-time world champion Bochet in the women’s standing class, it is Rothfuss who has the best chance. The German enters her third Paralympics having won five Paralympic medals. Bochet, only 20, is entering the prime of her career after winning this season’s women’s overall World Cup title.

Aleksandra Frantceva (Russia) – Henrieta Farkasova (Slovakia)

These two women’s visually impaired skiers have been pushing each other to go faster on the slopes over the last Paralympic cycle. At the 2013 World Championships, Frantceva picked up three golds, with Farkasova notching two titles. Both are entering their second Paralympics expecting to be the top contender in their class.

Matthias Lanzinger (Austria) – Markus Salcher (Austria)

What is better than two rivals from the same country? The two standing skiers are both expected to make multiple appearances on the podium in Sochi, with many looking ahead to their super-G race on Sunday (9 March). Lanzinger is a former big-name able-bodied skier, while Salcher is a graduate of the IPC’s 2006 development and a two-time IPC Alpine Skiing world champion.

Nordic skiing

Brian McKeever (Canada) – Nikolay Polukhin (Russia)

McKeever is a five-time Paralympic champion and Polukhin has two Paralympic titles to his name, and the two men’s visually impaired cross-country skiers are expected to go head-to-head right up to the finish in Sochi. The Canadian was unbeatable at his home Games in 2010 in Vancouver, taking gold in the 1km sprint, as well as the 10km and 20km events.

Kozo Kubo (Japan) – Roman Petushkov (Russia)

This has been one of the fastest growing rivalries over the last Paralympic cycle, with Petushkov entering Sochi 2014 as the man to beat on the Nordic skiing trails and Kubo one of the sport’s rising stars. Petushkov, a five-time world champion still in search of his first Paralympic gold, won both the cross-country skiing and biathlon overall titles at the 2013-14 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup.

Snowboard

Evan Strong (USA) – Mike Shea (USA)

Many are expecting an All-American rivalry in the men’s competition when snowboard makes its Paralympic debut on 14 March at the Rosa Kuhtor Alpine Centre. Strong has been consistently ranked No. 1 in the world, but Shea is coming off a season where he finished as the 2013-14 IPCAS Snowboard World Cup overall winner.

Ice sledge hockey

Canada-USA

If these two teams meet in the medal round at Sochi 2014, it will be the grudge match of all grudge matches. The USA, led by goaltender Steve Cash and forward Josh Pauls, are trying to defend their Paralympic title. Canada, powered by top scorers Greg Westlake and Brad Bowden, are the reigning world champions going for gold after failing to medal at Vancouver 2010 despite high expectations.

Norway-Sweden

As the first two countries to have ice sledge hockey teams, these nations have some of the most stories programmes in the record books. Look for Sweden’s budding young star Per Kasperi to challenge Norway’s veteran defenceman Rolf Pedersen on the ice when they face off on Tuesday (11 March).

Wheelchair curling

Canada-Sweden

These two teams finished one-two at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics and both expected to be in the medal hunt in Sochi. Canada are led by their flag bearer Sonja Gaudet and Sweden are anchored by skip Jalle Jungnell, both included on the IPC’s Ones to Watch list for the Games. They will face off against each other on Monday (10 March).