Great Britain’s James Whitley was overjoyed with a sixth-placed finish in the men’s standing giant slalom at the Winter Paralympic Games.
The result is the best of his Winter Paralympic career on the third time he has competed at the Games.
The 24-year-old said in a post on Twitter: “Extremely happy with the result, not even in my best event. 2nd fastest in the second run, who would have thought!”
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He improved six places after sitting twelfth after his first run, clocking an overall time of 1:58.38
It was a really nice run, the further I got down the more I was charging after it. I left everything on the hill.
“It was a really nice run, the further I got down the more I was charging after it. I left everything on the hill. For Giant Slalom that’s the best result I’ve ever had and I’m really, really happy with that,” said the Eastbourne-based skier.
“It’s always nice to know that you belong on the leaderboard and in the top half, so I’m going to take the confidence I got today and put it into the slalom, which is my bread and butter.”
Santeri Kiiveri of FInland took gold.
Whitley, who was born without both hands, started skiing as a young child, but only started to compete in 2013, after meeting Nick Webborn, ParalympicsGB’s Chief Medical Officer at London 2012.
He made his Paralympic debut at Sochi in 2014, finishing fourteenth in the giant slalom and fifteenth in the slalom events.
In PyeongChang in 2018, Whitley finished in the top ten for both the downhill and slalom races.
In the visually impaired event, Neil Simpson finished in fifth place after his two runs.
The teenager, who is guided through the event by brother Andrew, was looking to add his Super-G gold and Super Combined bronze earlier in the week.
“It was tricky,” Simpson told ParaympicsGB. “It was a shorter distance than we are used to in Giant Slalom, certainly {shorter} than what we’ve been training in the past season. The first run wasn’t ideal, we both were holding on to the ski too long and that costs you time at each gate and builds up pretty quickly.
“The second run was better, there were some positives and something to work on.”
The pair finished just over three seconds off the podium pace, with 16-year-old Austrian, Johannes Aigner taking gold.
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