PyeongChang 2018: Super Sin wins South Korea’s first gold

Eui Hyun Sin wins historic first title for hosts at a Winter Paralympics 17 Mar 2018
a sit skier celebrates on his knees holding the South Korean flag

Eui Hyun Sin is South Korea's first Winter Paralympic champion

ⒸGetty Images
By Louise Wood | For the IPC

In a fabulous day of cross-country skiing at Alpensia South Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin stole the show with an outstanding performance in the men’s sitting 7.5km race. His historic win was the first at a Winter Paralympics for South Korea.

There was a tense atmosphere in the stadium as he headed into the final kilometre with just a two second lead over USA’s Daniel Cnossen.

But Sin had no intention of throwing away his last chance of winning gold at his home Games and used the roar of the crowd to carry him over the line in first place.

“It was my dream to win a gold medal in the Paralympic Games and I don't have any words to describe this feeling,” said an emotional Sin. “Now my dream has been realised.”

“I'm so happy to perform my game at home in Korea and in biathlon I was a little bit nervous but I promised all the press and journalists that I would sing the hymn of Korea. Today we heard the Korean hymn and I'm very happy for this.”

Cnossen held on to second to pick up a remarkable sixth medal in six races. The bronze medal went to Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi who was very happy to be back on the podium.

Earlier in the day it was Canada who were making all the headlines. Brian McKeever won his thirteenth gold medal in the men’s 10km vision impaired classic race with guides Russell Kennedy and Graham Nshikawa. Shortly afterwards teammate Mark Arendz won the bronze in the men’s 10km standing.

McKeever was typically modest after another landmark performance.

“The medals look nice but it is representative of all the work that's put in. We do several training camps a year they're often three weeks long, often at a high altitude. On those weeks we might be training over 30 hours each week.”

They were followed by 17-year-old compatriot Natalie Wilkie who won her first gold at her debut Paralympics in the women’s 7.5km standing. Emily Young also got in on the action taking the bronze medal in the same race on an exceptional day for the Canadian team.

"I didn't think I would get gold at all. This is only my first Paralympics and I'm 17 this year,” said Wilkie. “It feels awesome, especially to be sharing the podium with my teammate, Emily.”

Behind McKeever in the vision impaired race it was USA’s Jacob Adicoff and guide Sawyer Kesselheim who won the silver. Adicoff thought he had won bronze earlier in the week in the sprint before subsequently being disqualified. He used that disappointment as motivation.

“There was a little bit of frustration, a little bit of wanting to get that medal, that individual medal,” said Adicoff. “Those things in moderation kind of work together and help you ski fast.”

The bronze went to Yury Holub and guide Dzmitry Budzulovich. The 21-year-old has excelled here winning four medals for Belarus.

The men’s standing was won by Japan’s Yoshihiro Nitta. It was Japan’s first medal in Nordic at these Games and Nitta’s first win since he took this title eight years ago at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics.

“I promised my child that I would get a gold and that's what I am most happy about, that I can keep that promise.”

“I think what helped me win was that the snow was very hard and firm,” he explained. There were many ups and downs on the course and that was a benefit for me.”

The silver went to Gregorii Vovchynskyi of Ukraine and Arendz’s bronze means he has won a medal in all five races he has stared here in PyeongChang.

"I’m ecstatic,” said Arendz. “The focus was six races out of the seven. I still have one more left. I have accomplished what I wanted.”

The silver medal in the women’ standing, behind Wilkie, went to Neutral Paralympic athlete Ekaterina Rumyantseva to round off a great Games for her with five individual medals.

Belarusian Sviatlana Sakhanenka with guide Raman Yashchanka won her third gold medal of the Games in the women’s 7.5km vision impaired making it a clean sweep of the cross-country races for her.

Neutral Paralympic Athlete Mikhalina Lysova took another medal with guide Alexey Ivanov in second, while Carina Edlinger together with brother Julian finally got her first Paralympic medal with bronze.

Last but not least USA’s Oksana Masters took her second gold in cross-country winning the women’s 5km race to add to her sprint title. She managed to hold off rival Andrea Eskau of Germany who won silver and Neutral Paralympic Athlete Marta Zainullina who won bronze.

The cross-country competition draws to a close on Sunday (9 March) with the relay races.

Every competition as well as the Closing Ceremony can be watched live right here on the International Paralympic Committee’s website. Highlights of each day’s action will also be made available.