12 March 2022

Menna Fitzpatrick falls just short of third Winter Paralympics medal in Beijing

12 March 2022

Menna Fitzpatrick narrowly missed out on a third medal at the Beijing Winter Paralympics on the penultimate day of the 2022 Games.

ParalympicsGB’s most decorated athlete had already claimed silver in the super-G and bronze in the visually impaired super combined in China when she stepped out at Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre for the women’s slalom vision impaired race.

Defending champion from Pyeongchang four years ago, Fitzpatrick’s first run saw her place fifth and despite an impressive second run, the 23-year-old had to settle for fourth behind Alexandra Rexova by 0.45 of a second.

It brought the Games to a close for the six-time medallist, who was able to compete with guide Katie Guest in this event after her new guide was able to recover from a positive Covid-19 test earlier this month.

Fellow ParalympicsGB team-mate Millie Knight came eighth in the same event and Shona Brownlee showed great spirit to finish ninth in the women’s slalom sitting.

A fall on Brownlee’s first run opened up the prospect of her failing to finish but she recovered and backed it up with a solid second run.

Steve Arnold was able to become the 24th member of ParalympicsGB to compete in Beijing after an eventful week.

The 42-year-old tested positive for coronavirus on the eve of the Games and only arrived earlier in the week but a second positive result further put in jeopardy his hopes of becoming a Paralympian.

After missing out on the cross-country sprint event on Wednesday and the 12.5km biathlon on Friday, Arnold was able to finish his period of isolation in time to compete in the cross-country skiing men’s middle distant sitting event and secured 29th position.

He said in a video on Twitter: “That’s it, first race done and back in the village now. Horrendous result but it was more than about the result today.

“It was about getting on that start line, racing and competing. I am so proud, as everyone keeps saying, of becoming a Paralympian.

“We go again tomorrow and see what the team can do in the relay but it is great to race. It has been a long journey. The longest part of the last five years has been the last three weeks but I cannot wait to race again tomorrow. Thank you to everyone for your support.”

Arnold’s appearance meant all five members of the nordic skiing team were able to get on the slopes on Saturday with Scott Meenagh 16th, Callum Deboys finishing 21st and Steve Thomas coming home in 32nd in the men’s middle distant sitting competition.

Hope Gordon clinched 16th in the women’s event ahead of the final day of the 2022 Games on Sunday.

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