PyeongChang 2018: NPA delegation excel on day four
Two athletes secure Paralympic hat-tricks and the Dutch land a historic gold 13 Mar 2018
Neutral Paralympic Athlete (NPA) Ekaterina Rumyantseva and Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova became the first athletes to secure a hat-trick of Paralympic titles at PyeongChang 2018 on Tuesday (13 March).
On the day it was announced that ticket sales have exceeded 320,000 - a Paralympic record – 18-year-old Jereon Kampschreur won an historic first alpine skiing gold for the Netherlands, while the NPA delegation moved up to second in the medals table after winning seven medals, including two golds.
Rumyantseva led the NPA medal rush finishing 80 seconds ahead of silver medal winner and compatriot Anna Milenina in the women’s biathlon 10km standing.
"It was like an ordinary race, like a stage of the World Cup,” said Rumyantseva. “There was no stress at all. I was stressed yesterday but today I just came out without any stress at all.”
NPA alpine skier Aleksei Bugaev retained his Paralympic super combined standing title after a sensational slalom run saw him push French teenager Arthur Bauchet down into silver medal position.
Tuesday’s biathlon events in warm but windy conditions showed that age is no barrier to success and that new young talent is emerging in the sport.
Germany’s Andrea Eskau, 46, secured her seventh Paralympic title with victory in the women’s 10km sitting, while 18-year-old Ukrainian Taras Rad led home the field in the men's sitting 12.5km.
"It's totally crazy. I can only explain it as crazy because I did not expect to win,” said Eskau.
"I'm so old I could not (get) so excited like the young girls. They are getting crazy about the races and I'm not and maybe that's why I'm on the top today.”
"I am very, very, very happy,” explained Rad. “Everything turned out just like I wanted. I am so happy.
"It shows that the young ones, like me, can also get top results."
Rad was not the only Ukrainian gold medallist; Oksana Shyshkova (guide Vitaliy Kazakov) topped the podium in the women's 10km vision impaired.
Other biathlon winners on Tuesday included France’s Benjamin Daviet in the men’s 12.5km standing and Belarus’ Yury Holub (guide Dzmitry Budzilovich) in the men's vision impaired.
At the Jeongseon Alpine Centre, Farkasova (guide Natalia Subrtova) survived a late scare in the slalom to secure her third PyeongChang 2018 gold in the women's super combined vision impaired.
"I am a little bit tired because it was quite a demanding day and also a bit relieved after we crossed that finish line because of the huge mistake we made on the bottom part of the course,” said Farkasova who has now won eight Paralympic golds.
"The pressure definitely went up after that mistake but all I tried to do was get myself together, fight for that gate and then once I made it, refocus and push through to the finish."
Tuesday’s headline maker in alpine skiing was Jeroen Kampschreur who, four years ago, was a Sochi 2014 spectator. He won gold in the men’s sitting after a spectacular slalom run saw him improve his position from third after the morning’s super-G.
"That was amazing. It was a dream come true,” said Kampschreur. “It was kind of the same as the World champs: third after the first run in the super-G and make everything up in the slalom. Everything was following my plan in my head. I went at the slalom so fast. I just wanted to win, I wanted the gold medal.”
Despite French favourite Marie Bochet crashing out in the women’s standing, Germany’s Andrea Rothfuss still only managed silver, her third of the Games. Leading after the morning run, Rothfuss failed to better the time put down by Canada's Mollie Jepson who took gold.
“"It's awesome for me. I trained so much in the last years and I wanted to be on the top of the world and now I have reached it. It's incredible,” a delighted Forster said.
Slovakia’s Miroslav Haraus (guide Maros Hudik), added to his super-G bronze with victory in the men’s vision impaired.
At the Gangneung Hockey Centre, Group A winners USA hammered hosts South Korea 8-0. The defending champions, who will play Italy in the semi-finals, have so far scored 28 goals and conceded none. Czech Republic secured third spot in the group defeating Japan 3-0 thanks to two goals from Pavel Kubes.
Norway finished third in Group A with a 3-1 win against Scandinavian rivals Sweden. Lena Schroeder, the first woman to play the sport at a Paralympics since 1994, started for the Norwegians.
In wheelchair curling, China maintained their position at the top of the rankings despite suffering a first loss at the hands of defending champions Canada 8-5. Having lost their first five matches, Sweden impressed. They first beat world champions Norway 5-4 and then humbled Germany 9-5. A win in the evening session for South Korea 6-5 over Switzerland keeps them in second place, while an extra-ends victory for Canada over USA sent them clear in third.