The British Paralympic Association (BPA) has today added the first names to the team-sheet for PyeongChang 2018, announcing seven athletes and two guides who will represent ParalympicsGB in para alpine skiing and para snowboard.
Aiming to better ParalympicsGB’s historic achievements in Sochi, the skiers have shown their potential this cycle with a number of World Championship medal-winning performances, while the snowboarders have made their mark to become the first British athletes to represent Great Britain in the sport at the Paralympic Games.
In alpine skiing, reigning downhill world champions Millie Knight and guide Brett Wild will compete along with Menna Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Kehoe in the women’s visually impaired classification.
Following her Paralympic debut four years ago Knight has gone from strength to strength and firmly established herself as a top contender on the international stage and, in January 2017, she and Wild produced an historic performance at the World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, to claim downhill gold.
It’s also been a stellar rise for Fitzpatrick and Kehoe who became the first Brits to win the overall VI World Cup title in 2016 and finished 2017 off in style with a quartet of medals at the first World Cup of the season in December.
Elsewhere, in the men’s standing events, skier James Whitley returns after making his Paralympic debut at Sochi 2014 and recording a seventh-placed slalom finish at last year’s World Championships. Chris Lloyd is set for his Games debut after gaining valuable experience with the Paralympic Inspiration Programme at Sochi 2014.
For the first time in its history Great Britain will have representation in snowboard at the Paralympic Games after the sport made its debut at Sochi 2014. There are two medal events; snowboard cross and banked slalom.
World Championship silver medallist and military veteran Owen Pick will compete in the events for athletes with lower-limb impairments while World Championship bronze medallist Ben Moore and James Barnes-Miller are both selected in the classification for athletes with upper-limb impairments.
Millie Knight said: “I’m so happy to be selected to compete at my second Winter Paralympic Games for Great Britain. Four years ago in Sochi was a really fantastic experience and I learned a lot, but competing in Pyeongchang has always been my main goal.
“Since Sochi I’ve been working really hard and have built a really strong partnership with my guide, Brett Wild. We know the competition will be tough in South Korea, but we’re excited for the games and look forward to the challenge ahead.”
Penny Briscoe OBE, Chef de Mission for ParalympicsGB, added:
“It is very exciting to start the year by announcing the first athletes who will represent ParalympicsGB at PyeongChang 2018. Sochi 2014 was an historic Games for us, but the incredible performances of these athletes throughout this cycle shows that there is so much to look forward to when the Games begin in March, including the addition of snowboard as a new sport.”
Today’s team announcement is the first for ParalympicsGB. The full line-up of athletes will be complete by Team Launch, which will be celebrated on February 15.
The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games take place from March 9-18, 2018.
Millie Knight, 18, Canterbury
Brett Wild (guide), 25, Glasgow
Menna Fitzpatrick, 19, Macclesfield
Jennifer Kehoe (guide), 34, Salisbury
James Whitley, 20, Wilmington
Chris Lloyd, 43, Pontypridd
Owen Pick, 26, Barton Mills
Ben Moore, 32, Plymouth
James Barnes-Miller, 28, Broadstairs
Lead photo shows left to right: Jennifer Kehoe, Menna Fitzpatrick, Owen Pick, Ben Moore, James Barnes-Miller, Millie Knight and Brett Wild.
Report courtesy of British Paralympic Association and ParalympicsGB