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ParalympicsGB Conquer Unexpected Challenges on Day Four

on 11-03-2014 15:24

ParalympicsGB skiers today battled conditions to get one run of the Super-Combined completed as heavy fog descended onto the course, while the Wheelchair Curling team bounced back from morning defeat to win their round robin match against Norway 7-3.

At the Alpine Skiing venue, poor weather meant that the Super G part of the Super-Combined event was delayed and eventually postponed in favour of proceeding with the Slalom run.

In the women’s Visually Impaired category, Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell put in an accomplished performance and will enter the next stage of the competition in 2nd place. Their time of 1:01.80 in the Slalom ranks them behind Russian rival Aleksandra Frantceva (Russia), with both Henrieta Farkasova (Slovakia) and Melissa Perrine (Australia) disqualified after initially securing faster times than the British duo.

“I think we had a good run, we’re happy to have completed it” Jade Etherington 

Etherington said:  “I think we had a good run, we’re happy to have completed it and we can take a lot from this into our Slalom.”

Powell added: “We’re so glad to go back and rest and get ready for the next part. The race is not over yet!”

“I just missed a gate. I was skiing really hard and sometimes that happens when you ski really hard.” Kelly Gallagher 

Yesterday’s gold medallists Kelly Gallagher and Charlotte Evans had been the first athletes out of the gate but recorded a DNF after Gallagher fell at a gate. Therefore, they are ruled out of competing in the re-scheduled Super G element of the Super Combined.

Evans said: “It's pretty tough out there but that's the best we've skied Slalom. Sometimes that happens. We struggle with the technical part of Super-Combined so we were treating it like a training race for the next few days.”

Gallagher added: “I just missed a gate. I was skiing really hard and sometimes that happens when you ski really hard.”

In the women’s Sitting category, Anna Turney completed the course in 1:19.85, but lost time on her rivals after nearly missing a gate and having to turn sharply part way through her race. She lies in fifth position going into the second half of the event.

In the men’s Sitting competition, the last of the GB competitors today Mick Brennan led a controlled run to complete the course in 1:14.85, with official results placing him in a highly respectable 9th position.

In the Wheelchair Curling down at the Ice Cube Curling Centre, ParalympicsGB bounced back from a morning 13-4 defeat to beat Norway 7-3.

"We wanted to ensure we gave a strong performance on the ice. We did that and the bonus was getting the win." Tony Zummack 

The Norwegian team has had a good start to their Games, forcing Paralympic Champions Canada to a narrow defeat on day three, but the British athletes maintained their calm composure to secure a welcome win for their confidence.

GB stole a point to open the scoring in end 1 of the afternoon session as Norwegian skip Rune Lorentsen missed the hammer. The margins in the next end were tight but Norway scored to pull level, with GB responding in end 3 to pull the lead back to 2-1 in their favour. Stealing another point from the hammer in both ends 4 and 5, GB extended their lead to 4-1 as the match passed the half-way stage.

With the advantage of the hammer, Norway clawed back two points in end 6, leaving the game on a knife-edge at 4-3. Neilson rose to the occasion in the next end however, taking out the Norwegian stone to score three points and give GB a 7-3 lead going into the final phase of play, which they held to the finish.

Coach Tony Zummack was proud of his players, saying: “It was definitely a good day to bounce back and that’s one of the things we talked about over the lunch break. If we weren’t going to get a win this afternoon we wanted to put in a really strong, gutsy performance, to dig down and show ourselves that we weren’t a poor team after this morning, we had to do something a little bit different than that. We wanted to ensure we gave a strong performance on the ice. We did that and the bonus was getting the win so I’m really proud of the guys but we still know we’ve got some work to do tomorrow and the next day.

"I think this proves how strong our dynamics are on and off the ice.” Aileen Neilson 

“It’s a war of attrition, it’s a long week and you’ve got nine round robin games and we’d like to win all nine games in six ends with outrageous scores but that’s generally not the world of sport. We’ve done a lot of work already, we need to do a little bit more, we just need to pick up a couple more wins out of the next three games and I think we’re absolutely capable of doing that.”

Neilson said: “After our game this morning we had to re-group and focus and I think this proves how strong our dynamics are on and off the ice.”

In the morning session of the Wheelchair Curling down at the Ice Cube Curling Centre, ParalympicsGB faced a tough challenge from their Finnish rivals, suffering a 13-4 defeat in the fifth match of the round robin.

It was a shaky start for GB, as Finland took advantage of the hammer to take the first point in end 1. They went on to steal four points from GB in end 2, creating a huge 5-0 lead for Finland at the start of the game.

Neilson got GB on the scoreboard in the 3rd end as her penultimate stone landed on target. But Finland took advantage of having the hammer in end 4 and scored another three points.

At the half-way stage skip Aileen Neilson was replaced by alternate Angie Malone, who, now competing at her third Games, is the most experienced athlete on the team. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to revive the team’s fortunes as Finland comfortably took end 5 with a score of 5-0.

End 6 went in GB’s favour as they redeemed three points, but Finland had overall control of the game and after a blank end they forced GB to concede end 8, winning the match in decisive fashion with a score of 14-3.

Neilson said: “I think they were keen to get a win on the board and the way they played, they deserved that win. If we don’t bring our A game against a team that is playing like that then that’s going to be the result. So we have to make sure that this afternoon we come out and play the way that we know we’re able to play in order to get another win against Norway.”

Gault said: “We tried to keep ourselves up, but they played an excellent game of curling. We’re here to do our job and hopefully we can do it right and keep going, keep the team dynamics as they are. We’ve only lost two games, we’re well in this.”

Explaining the decision to bring alternate Angie Malone onto the ice to replace her at the end of end 4, Neilson said: “That comes from the coaches bench. We realised we had to do something to change it up, mix it up, to get a different dynamic and a different rhythm there. It’s all performance related, so it’s absolutely nothing personal. It’s just about trying to get some points on the board and get the best four players out there at that point in time.”

Due to the conditions in Rosa Khutor, the women’s Slalom has been moved from Friday and will now take place tomorrow, with the first run slated for 09:00 local time and the second at 12:00. It will see the women’s Slalom competition take place with Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans, Jade Etherington and guide Caroline Powell, Mille Knight and guide Rachael Ferrier and Anna Turney all in action.

The Slalom event in the Super-Combined has been postponed and will take place later in the skiing programme (date and time to be confirmed). 

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