PyeongChang 2018: First-time champions head winners on day two11.03.2018
Oatway and Yarovyi claim surprise golds to join established names
The second day of competition at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games on Sunday (10 March) saw the first medal success for the host nation and for a 34-year-old Canadian who denied USA’s Andrew Kurka what looked like a certain second sucessive gold.
The sun was setting over PyeongChang when Kurt Oatway stepped on the Paralympic podium for the first time in his career and bit the medal to feel the taste of gold in the men’s super-G sitting event. Four years ago in Sochi, he failed to finish in three of the six events he competed in.
"It's definitely my new number one. My previous number one was my crystal globe back in 2015-16 for downhill but the Paralympics are once every four years, it's the big show. It's what everybody trains for and comes out for.
“[Saturday] was a very, very low point for me. I had a big mistake in the top part of the course for the downhill, I lost three seconds worth of time and was very, very upset about it," said Oatway, who took on Para alpine skiing after watching the Vancouver 2010 Games.
It was also a special Sunday for the home crowd at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre where a South Korean athlete won the country’s first medal with Eui Hyun Sin’s bronze in the men’s cross-country 15km sitting. South Korea’s first ever Paralympic medal in Nordic skiing.
"The sport is not very popular in this country, so I hope that with this bronze medal, this sport can get recognised by many more people and get more popular,” Sin said.
The event also saw an historic performance from the youngest athlete at PyeongChang 2018. Brazil’s Cristian Cabrera, 15 years-old, finished in sixth place – his country’s best ever result in either Paralympic or Olympic Winter Games.
South Korean fans had a lot to celebrate in Para ice hockey too. The country’s second victory came in a nail-biting 3-2 win over the Czech Republic in overtime thanks to two goals from national hero Seung-Hwang Jung – including the sudden death winner.
Defending champions USA started its campaign with a 10-0 victory over Japan. World champions Canada made it two wins from two beating Italy by the same scoreline.
In alpine skiing, it was a case of Groundhog Day in the women’s competition with all three winners from Saturday’s downhill also claiming victory in Sunday’s Super-G.
Leading the way was Anna Schaffelhuber who has now won seven Paralympic gold medals in a row in the women’s standing. The 25-year-old German beat her close rival and world champion Claudia Loesch of Austria in to silver.
"The next two races will be the most difficult for me, Anna-Lena Forster is very strong in the slalom and she will be more of a favourite for the next races than me,” said Schaffelhuber.
Japan’s Momoka Muraoka won her second medal of the Games with bronze.
Henrieta Farkasova, guided by Natalia Subrtova, also claimed the seventh Paralympic title of her distinguished career in the women’s vision impaired. Taking silver for a second day in a row was Great Britain’s Millie Knight (guide Brett Wild) who was joined on the podium by compatriot Menna Fitzpatrick (guide Jennifer Kehoe).
The top two in the women’s standing were again France’s Marie Bochet and Germany’s Andrea Rothfuss with just 0.27 seconds separating them. Canada’s Alana Ramsay picked up the bronze.
The USA’s Kendall Gretsch followed up Saturday’s gold in the 6km biathlon with another title, this time in the women’s cross-country 12.5km sitting. Germany’s early race leader Andrea Eskau settled for silver, while Gretsch’s teammate Oksana Masters held off a late rally from Neutral Paralympic Athlete Marta Zainullina to secure bronze.
In wheelchair curling the US team finally claimed its first win after two successive defeats, beating Sweden 10-2 in the evening session. China, Canada and South Korea are top of the standings after two days with three wins from three, while the NPA delegation also picked up its first win of the competition.
Every competition as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies can be watched live right here on the International Paralympic Committee’s website. Highlights of each day’s action will also be made available.
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