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Skiers sign off from Sochi

on 16-03-2014 13:07

The final day of Alpine Skiing action at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games concluded with a fantastic fifth place finish for Games debutante and teenager Millie Knight in the women’s Giant Slalom.

Early this morning, ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe confirmed that multi-medallists Jade Etherington and guide Caroline Powell would not be competing in today’s event. This was due to Etherington feeling unwell and, after consultation with Chief Medical Officer Dr Stuart Miller, the young skier felt she should not race.

The announcement meant that ParalympicsGB were represented in the women’s visually impaired category by Kelly Gallagher and guide Charlotte Evans and Millie Knight and her guide Rachael Ferrier.

Gallagher and Evans were the first British competitors on the hill and were on for a fast time before Gallagher fell at a gate. The duo were disappointed with the outcome but retained a positive outlook.

"We put 100% in every time we do anything." Charlotte Evans 

Charlotte said: “We have definitely won the award for the most bad luck. We put 100% in every time we do anything. We were told from the beginning that if you do that, you'll get a medal, but we did that and we got our gold medal.”

Kelly added: "And then we learned that you can't just come down the course relaxed, you have to come down the course fighting. All the time the coach has been telling us 'you're fighters, you've got it, you've got this and you need to just keep on fighting the whole way down the course'... Well I don't know how to fight down a course with one ski on. It's just bad luck. We've been great in GS all season, winning nearly every race we've been in. I felt really good this morning, a bit nervous but we went out there and it was really good.”

Charlotte said: “It's hard to swallow right now, but we'll pick ourselves up and begin again.”

Speaking of her overall performance in Sochi Kelly commented: "It's harder to take a DNF in three events, especially when you know what good form you're in."

The performance of the day was undoubtedly youngster Millie Knight and guide Rachael Ferrier, who clocked 1:39.66 in her first run and punched the air in delight as she crossed the finish line. The pairing then got 1:27.68 in her second run giving them a finish time of 3:07.34 and ranking of 5th overall.

"I'm ecstatic to have finished fifth in my first Games. We're speechless." Millie Knight 

Fifteen year old Millie said of her race: "It was great fun. It was incredibly exciting and an unforgettable experience. I prefer GS to Slalom so I was positive and confident coming in to today.

"I'm ecstatic to have finished fifth in my first Games. We're speechless."

Knight’s guide Rachael Ferrier said:

"Today was our first GS race together ever so to finish fifth is pretty impressive. It really helped us saving our favourite event to last as we were more confident coming in to this.

Speaking of her Paralympic experience, she added: "The last two weeks have been the best experience of my life."

In the women’s sitting, Anna Turney clocked 1:55.41, putting her into 11th place at the end of the first run. She then put in a brilliant second run, timed at 1:25.35, to give her a finish position of 3:20.76 and ranking of 8th overall.

"I'm really pleased to be part of spreading the message to the word that disabled people can achieve incredible feats." Anna Turney

Turney commented: "Having fallen in the first run, I made a great comeback in the second run and skied fast to finish 8th. These games have been a once in a lifetime experience and, whilst the results haven't gone my way, I'm really pleased to be part of spreading the message to the word that disabled people can achieve incredible feats. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my friends and supporters so thank you to all those people who have taken the time to cheer me on.”

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games concludes this evening with the Closing Ceremony.

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