10 March 2022

James Whitley ‘extremely happy’ with sixth-placed finish in giant slalom event

10 March 2022

Skier James Whitley was delighted with a sixth-placed finish in the men’s standing giant slalom that secured the best result of his Winter Paralympic career.

Whitley, in his third Games, stormed up the leaderboard on his second run in Beijing.

The 24-year-old said on Twitter: “Extremely happy with the result, not even in my best event. 2nd fastest in the second run, who would have thought!”

Whitley, who was born without hands and does not use skiing poles while competing, had his first top-10 finish when he was ninth in Saturday’s downhill.

He improved six places after being 12th on the opening run as Santeri Kiiveri took gold.

The Finn finished just 0.04 seconds ahead of American Thomas Walsh.

Brothers Neil and Andrew Simpson, who like Whitley will finish their programme in Sunday’s slalom, were fifth in the visually impaired event.

They finished just over three seconds off the podium as Austrian 16-year-old Johannes Aigner added slalom gold to his downhill crown.

Alex Slegg finished 26th in the seated events, but fellow debutant Dan Sheen failed to complete his second run.

Great Britain’s wheelchair curlers bounced back from a 6-3 defeat to defending champions China to beat Latvia 8-4 in their final round-robin game.

Four consecutive losses had ended the hopes of Hugh Nibloe’s side making the semi-finals.

Britain’s Gary Smith pushes a stone as teammate Meggan Dawson-Farrell assists during their wheelchair curling tie against Dita Alangkara/AP) (AP)

Skip Nibloe said: “We have had a few slow starts and have then struggled. We have learned it’s so important that we get our preparation right and that leads in to the start of the game.

“There is definitely more to come from this team, over the last few years we have lost some stalwarts of the team.

“But thankfully we have David (Melrose), Meggan (Dawson-Farrell) and Gary (Smith) and they have all come on so much in the last year.

“I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them as they have the opportunity to get to the very top.”

Melrose was able to support his team-mates at the Ice Cube after being taken to hospital on Wednesday with a shoulder injury.

The Scot had suffered a freak injury when falling from his wheelchair during Britain’s defeat to Canada, with subsequent tests revealing a torn rotator cuff.

Ukraine’s 20-strong delegation, meanwhile, made an appeal for peace and called for an end to the conflict with Russia.

Valerii Sushkevych, Ukraine’s National Paralympic Committee president, athletes and officials held up a “peace for all” message, accompanied by raised fists and a minute’s silence.

Ukraine are currently third in the medal table behind hosts China and Canada, with six golds among their haul of 19 medals.

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