THE SQUAD WILL JOIN FIVE WHEELCHAIR CURLERS AS PART OF ONE OF THE LARGEST BRITISH WINTER PARALYMPIC GAMES TEAMS IN HISTORY
ParalympicsGB has confirmed one of the biggest ever British teams to compete at a Paralympic Winter Games with the announcement of the ski and snowboard athletes for Beijing 2022.
The 20 selected individuals are scheduled to compete in Alpine Skiing, Nordic Skiing (Biathlon and Cross Country), and Snowboard, as part of a wider team also comprising five Wheelchair Curlers who were announced in January 2022.
The announcement means ParalympicsGB will send its biggest team to a Paralympic Winter Games since the Lillehammer Games in 1994.
Alpine Skiing features defending Paralympic Slalom Champion and PyeongChang 2018 multiple medallist, Menna Fitzpatrick, who will be competing with new guide Kate Guest. Menna will be joined again by PyeongChang 2018 triple medallist, Millie Knight, who will be partnered again by Brett Wild. They are joined in the Visually Impaired Classification by Games debutant Neil Simpson who is guided by his brother, Andrew. All three athletes enjoyed recent medal success at the 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer. Gary Smith, guide to Kelly Gallagher in PyeongChang travels as a support guide for Beijing and completes the Visually Impaired team for the Games.
Shona Brownlee will also be making her Games debut after a rapid rise since taking up the sport just four years ago. She is joined in the Sitting Class by Alex Slegg and Dan Sheen, who both went to PyeongChang on the ParalympicsGB Paralympic Inspiration Programme designed to give aspiring athletes a taste of the Games.
In the Standing Class, James Whitley will be looking to build on the experience he gained in multiple events at Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018.
MENNA FITZPATRICK SAID:
“It’s a huge honour to be selected to represent ParalympicsGB again, and I can’t wait to get out there and get started. The last two years have been disrupted due to injury and the pandemic and, with uncertainty about whether the Games would go ahead, let alone the qualification process, to have a seat on that plane is amazing. I’m super excited to travel to China as part of such an incredible team of athletes representing Great Britain.“
Nordic Skiing has no fewer than five athletes selected, demonstrating the progress the sport has made since Scott Meenagh became the first British athlete to compete for 20 years at Pyeongchang in 2018.
Mennagh is joined by fellow military veteran Steve Arnold, with both set to compete in the Biathlon and Cross-Country events. They will be joined in both Biathlon and Cross-Country by debutant Callum Deboys, who was inspired to take up the sport after meeting Meenagh.
Also competing in Cross-Country will be Steve Thomas, who travels to a remarkable sixth Paralympics, having represented ParalympicsGB in sailing from 2004-2016 as well as being part of the Para Ice Hockey team at Turin 2006, and Hope Gordon who is also on the British Canoe high performance programme, and is set to become ParalympicsGB’s first ever female Nordic athlete.
SCOTT MEENAGH SAID:
“I’m extremely proud to have been selected to go to my second Paralympic Winter Games. To be here again four years later alongside four other Para Nordic skiers is just an amazing feeling, and a real confirmation of the progress we’re making as a country in the sport. It’s been a challenging couple of years for all of us, but knowing our efforts will see us ready to compete in Beijing shows the hard work has been worth it. I can’t wait to get out there and get amongst it with the team!“
Snowboard sees the return of two athletes who featured at PyeongChang 2018, James Barnes-Miller, fresh from his recent medal success at the World Para Snow Sports Championships in Lillehammer, and Owen Pick who took silver at the Klovsjo 2022 World Cup. They are joined by Games debutants Ollie Hill, who won World Championships bronze in the Team event alongside James Barnes-Miller, and Andy MacLeod.
JAMES BARNES-MILLER SAID:
I’m stoked to be a part of the squad for the Paralympic Winter Games, and I’m just buzzing to get out on the snow in Beijing. I learned so much from my first experience of the Paralympics four years ago and I want to bring all of that experience to the slopes when our events get started. We’ve got an incredible squad and we showed at the World Championships that we’re ready to compete with the best in the world. Bring it on!
JAYNE KAVANAGH, GB SNOWSPORT HEAD OF PARALYMPIC PROGRAMMES, SAID:
“We’re absolutely delighted for each of the 20 GB Snowsport athletes and guides selected to represent ParalympicsGB at the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games. Every athlete and guide on our programme has worked tirelessly in preparation for these Games, under some of the most difficult performance circumstances and we are so very proud of what has already been achieved by this team.
“The size of squad selected is testament to the commitment shown by the entire GBS and Para Snowsport system, our athletes, guides, coaches, support staff and technicians. The international performance level in Para Snowsport is rising steeply year on year, with exceptional talent across every event; but Great Britain enter this Paralympic Games 5 weeks on from our most successful ever World Championships and will represent in Beijing with more athletes, across more classifications and more events than ever before.”
PHIL SMITH, PARALYMPICSGB CHEF DE MISSION AT BEIJING 2022, ADDED:
“I am absolutely delighted to be able to confirm ParalympicsGB will be taking one of our biggest Winter teams and one that promises to be our most competitive across a wider range of sports and events than ever before.
“I would like to pay tribute to the determination, strength and resilience of each of these talented athletes as they have continued to train and compete during these most challenging times. I have no doubt that they will once again unite and inspire the nation with their performances at Beijing 2022.
We want to build on the success of the past two Paralympic Winter Games and further enhance our reputation as an emerging nation.”
· Shona Brownlee
· Menna Fitzpatrick (Guide: Katie Guest)
· Millie Knight (Guide: Brett Wild)
· Dan Sheen
· Neil Simpson (Guide: Andrew Simpson)
· Alex Slegg
· James Whitley
· Supporting Guide: Gary Smith
· Steve Arnold
· Callum Deboys
· Hope Gordon
· Scott Meenagh
· Steve Thomas
· James Barnes-Miller
· Ollie Hill
· Andy MacLeod
· Owen Pick
The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games take place from March 4 – March 13 and are expected to be the biggest ever, featuring an estimated 600 athletes from more than 50 countries.