Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell won their third medal from three events as they claimed silver in the Slalom on day five of the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games.
The morning on the slopes also saw the youngest ParalympicsGB athlete Millie Knight shine on her Games debut to secure fantastic a 5th place finish in the Slalom with guide Rachael Ferrier.
After heavy fog interrupted the schedule for the Super Combined on Tuesday, snow fell on Rosa Khutor today as competition in the women’s Slalom got under way.
In the women’s Visually Impaired Category, Jade Etherington and guide Caroline Powell were the first athletes out of the gate and assumed a strong lead with a time of 1:00.87. However, their Russian rival Aleksandra Frantceva produced a spectacular second run, completing the course in a time of 59.82. In doing so, she edged 0.65 seconds ahead of Etherington and Powell to clinch the gold with a combined time of 2:01.24, while Etherington and Powell will be bringing home silver with their time of 2:01.89. Downhill Champion Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakian won bronze.
Etherington said: “We’re a bit annoyed that we didn’t get gold because we both tried really hard. We did a good first run. On the same hill Frantceva beat us by 3 seconds yesterday so we’re pleased we fought all the way. I think it’s just a bit annoying because we wanted to go for gold.
“We’ve medalled in every event. It’s good, it shows how well we ski together. After all these years, getting medals is amazing and I’m proud of that.
“Frantceva and I have always been rivals and she skied well today, so congratulations to her.”
Powell added: “The first run was clearer and smoother. On the second run we were at the back of the pack but we still managed to put down a solid run. It just wasn’t our day today but it’s still silver so we’re happy.”
Etherington and Powell’s win adds to their Downhill silver and Super-G bronze.
Fifteen year-old Millie Knight, who had the honour of being the ParalympicsGB flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony, made her Paralympic debut in the Slalom alongside guide Rachael Ferrier. It was a great performance to mark Knight’s debut as the pair recorded a time of 1:09.87 on their opening run. They went on to improve their ranking on the second run, ultimately securing a 5th place finish with a time of 2:18.77.
Knight said: “I’m very happy, so happy I did a little dance over the finish to celebrate. It was so exciting just getting down. Last night I was nervous but in the start gate I was just excited. I can’t wait for GS now.
“I’m only young and I wanted to hold my own in the field, and I feel like I’ve done that.
“We bet our coach that if got top five he would shave off his beard and we did it, so now he’ll have to!”
Ferrier added: “We’ve been waiting for ages for this so getting out there was really exciting. I’m really happy with our run, the second one was much cleaner and stronger than the first and it’s probably the best Slalom run we’ve done.
Gallagher and Evans, wearing bibs number 6, were skiing well and on course for a fast time before Gallagher clipped a slalom pole with her left ski and fell just a few gates from the finish, ruling the pair out of the competition.
Evans said: “It’s a tough event. We’ve had two good days skiing Slalom but it hasn’t worked out for us.
On the rearranged race schedule she added: “We quite wanted a rest day but that’s ski racing. We still have our favourite event to come [Giant Slalom] so we’re looking forward to that.”
Gallagher said: “It’s frustrating and I’m a bit upset. My ski came off and we only had four gates to go. The frustrating bit is that I felt really good and things were going so well. But these things happen.”
In the Sitting category, Anna Turney tackled both of her runs to secure a time of 2:28.33 and 5th place finish. She said: “Slalom isn’t my best event but I put down two solid runs.
“I was disappointed in the speed events because I wanted to get into the medals but I’m happy with fifth today. Fifth in the world isn’t the worst place to be.”
Gold was taken by Anna-Lena Forster (Germany), silver by Kimberly Joines (Canada) and bronze by Laurie Stephens (USA).
At the Ice Cube Curling Centre, ParalympicsGB faced tough competition in their morning match from a Russian side who were riding high a wave of confidence. Bolstered by vocal support from the home crowd, the Russian team have performed well on their Paralympic debut and have assumed a comfortable position at the top of the standings alongside reigning Paralympic Champions Canada.
After a blank end started proceedings, Russia opened the scoring in end 2 to create a two point lead, which they further extended in end 3 as the GB hammer failed to clear the house. A nice draw from Neilson’s final stone put GB on the scoreboard in end 4, with Russia leading 4-1 at the halfway stage.
Smirnov, the Russian skip, played a difficult take-out on the British stone in end 5 to score two points and assume a 6-1 lead. GB claimed a point back in end 6 but it wasn’t enough to stop the Russians, who responded with a defiant 5-0 score in end 7 to conclude the game 11-2.
Neilson said: “It was a tough game. Russia played extremely well and we just weren’t taking the shots. If you don’t make the shots against a team that’s playing like that then you don’t win.
“I know we’ve not been as consistent as we would like to be, so that’s what we have to focus on. We have to come out tomorrow and we have to put on our best performance if we want to reach the play-offs, it’s as simple as that.”
The ParalympicsGB Wheelchair Curlers have a bye this afternoon but will be back on the ice tomorrow morning. In their first game of the day they take on the USA (09:30 local time) before facing China in the afternoon (15:30 local time). As they prepare for the final matches of the round robin, the ParalympicsGB wheelchair curlers will be looking to secure their passage through to the next stage of the competition, with both of their opponents tied below them in the standings and also in contention to make the play-offs.
Tomorrow in Alpine Skiing, Mick Brennan, James Whitley and Ben Sneesby will compete in the men’s Slalom.
Keep up to date with ParalympicsGB at Sochi 2014 at sochi.paralympics.org.uk