Brits take Lillehammer by storm as Para Snowsport squad breaks new ground

Brits take Lillehammer by storm as Para Snowsport squad breaks new ground

A stunning World Para Snow Sports Championships showing from Britain’s Para Snowsport team sees the squad return home with ten medals, two World Championships, and a marker set as the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games draw closer

As the dust settles and teams depart Lillehammer following the conclusion of the World Para Snow Sports Championships, Britain can look back on an astonishing Championships record. 10 medals. Two World Champions. Four first-ever British medals in events and classifications. And a series of highly competitive performances from more athletes than a British squad has ever successfully led into a World Para Snow Sports Championships.

At the close, the Alpine medal count stood at seven, with Millie Knight and Guide Brett Wild’s Gold in the VI Super Combined matched by Menna Fitzpatrick and Guide Katie Guest’s own victory in the VI Slalom category. Knight and Wild’s Super-G bronze and Fitzpatrick and Guest’s Super Combined silver saw the athletes set themselves right at the head of the Women’s VI Alpine field as the Paralympic Games in Beijing approach.

In the Men’s VI Alpine category, brothers Neil and Andrew Simpson’s silver in the Men’s VI Super Combined capped a sensational performance for the pair, and saw Britain take home its first ever World Championships medal in Men’s VI Alpine skiing, alongside two fourth places and a sixth place in Downhill, Super-G and Slalom respectively. Meanwhile, Shona Brownlee on her first full season as part of the national Para Snowsport squad took Britain’s first ever Women’s Alpine Sit-Ski medals following up a silver in the Sitting Super-G with bronze in the Sitting Super Combined on her World Championships debut.

Snowboarding accounted for the rest of the British medal count, with last season’s Crystal Globe winner, James Barnes-Miller, to the fore. His bronze in the Upper Limb Dual Banked Slalom was followed by silver in the Upper Limb Snowboard Cross before a bronze alongside teammate Ollie Hill in the first ever World Para Snow Sports Championships Snowboard Cross Team event rounded out British participation at the Championships.

Aside from the medals, the Para Nordic squad seized a brace of top-10s through Scott Meenagh and Steve Arnold, while there were encouraging performances in the Snowboard events from Nina Sparks and Jon-Allan Butterworth on their World Championships debuts.

Jayne Kavanagh, GB Snowsport Head of Paralympic Programmes, had this to say from Lillehammer:

I think the overall reaction, coming away from these Championships, is pride. Proud of what we’ve achieved in terms of medals and performances, but prouder still of where this squad is on their journey. It’s not been an easy couple of years for anyone involved in Para Snowsport, and the whole team, and all the coaches and support staff, have moved heaven and earth to make sure we’re able to show our talent on the world stage.

“While we’re deeply proud of our efforts, what these Championships also showed is the enormous progress made by other national teams since the PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games in 2018. The level of competition has risen dramatically, which is an achievement the global Para Snowsport movement can be immensely proud of. We can look forward with real excitement to new and fiercer rivalries across all classifications and events as we head towards Beijing.

“Britain has never had a squad with this depth of talent, and we’re now competitive in more disciplines and with more athletes than ever before. The history books will show the ten medals and the two World Championship titles we come away with, but the real measure of this team’s success is in showing the rest of the world that we’re a force to be reckoned with in every event that we enter.”

The Para Snowsport squad will now enter a short competition, training and recovery block before confirmation of the athletes selected to compete for Britain by ParalympicsGB at the Beijing Paralympic Games follows in late February.

Header Image: James Barnes-Miller. Credit: Luc Percival Photography

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