Winter Paralympics: Millie Knight and Brett Wild win downhill silver

Britain’s Millie Knight and guide Brett Wild took downhill silver on the opening day of the Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang.

The pair, who are the world champions, finished 0.86 seconds behind defending Paralympic champions Henrieta Farkasova and guide Natalia Subrtova of Slovakia.

Knight, 19, is competing at her second Games while Wild is making his debut.

“I can’t stop smiling. It is the best feeling in the world,” Knight told BBC Sport afterwards.

“I was quite nervous at the start gate but once we pushed out, it was purely about doing what we had to do and thinking about the technical aspects down the course.”

Knight’s Great Britain team-mate Menna Fitzpatrick crashed early on in her run at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre but seemed unhurt and was able to ski to the bottom of the course with guide Jen Kehoe.

GB have been set a target of between six and 12 medals by UK Sport in South Korea with an ambition of at least seven.

Knight, who only has 5% vision and is registered blind, was the youngest member of the Great Britain team four years ago in Sochi, but at 15 was too young to compete in the speed events.

She started to work with Wild, a submariner with the Royal Navy, two years ago and the pair, who communicate during the race via Bluetooth headsets, triumphed at last year’s Worlds.

But Knight suffered a bad crash at 115km/h at the end of the race which left her with concussion and affected her confidence.

“There were times when I didn’t think I could get back,” she said after Saturday’s race.

“I’m not going to lie, it was a tough recovery but we have such great support staff so there are a lot of people to thank.”

Wild, who will guide Knight again in Sunday’s super G, was thrilled the pair could peak at the right time.

“We’ve been working so hard all season, but we’ve been so far away from Henrieta and Natalia so to cross the line and see we were only 0.8 behind, we knew it was a good run,” he said.

“It’s gutting to be behind them but it is still phenomenal for us and great to be back in the mix. I’ve never felt so proud in my life.”

Whitley claims top-10 finish

In the men’s standing event, Britain’s James Whitley was 10th, his best Paralympic finish, while debutant Chris Lloyd was 20th.

Whitley, 20, who competed in the giant slalom and slalom events four years ago, finished 4.40 seconds behind gold medallist Theo Gmur of Switzerland, who was winning his first Paralympic medal.

“I felt it went really well,” Whitley told BBC Sport. “I was well prepared and was very confident so to come down in 10th is really good.

“It was my first Paralympic downhill so I just wanted to see how it went.”

The GB wheelchair curlers made a winning start to their round-robin campaign with a 5-2 win over world champions Norway – the first time in four Games that they have won their opening match.

The GB team will face Switzerland and Finland on Sunday
After some early cagey exchanges, GB edged ahead with two in the fourth end to go 3-1 up but while Norway pulled one back in the sixth end, they narrowly missed scoring a second which would have levelled the match.

GB edged another point clear after a dramatic seventh end to go 4-2 up and with the advantage of the final stone in the last end, they held on to win.

On the opening day of the nordic skiing events, Scott Meenagh became the first Briton to compete in the discipline for 20 years and in the first of his six events, he finished 18th in the 7.5k seated biathlon.

Meenagh, who lost both legs while serving in Afghanistan, missed two shots in each of the shooting phases and finished well behind winner Daniel Cnossen of the United States, who claimed one of three golds for the USA on day one of competition.

The Neutral Paralympic Athlete delegation also won their first gold medals in the biathlon events through Ekaterina Rumyantseva, who triumphed in the women’s 6km standing category and Mikhalina Lysova in the 6km visually-impaired competition.



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