Winter Paralympics: Day-by-day guide to Pyeongchang Games

Members of the Para skiing and Para Snowboard teams
The GB team have been set a target of at least seven medals by UK Sport
Paralympic Games on the BBC
Venue: Pyeongchang, South Korea Dates: 9-18 March Time in Pyeongchang: GMT +9
Coverage: Follow on Radio 5 live and via the BBC Sport website. Television coverage on Channel 4.

The Winter Paralympics are set to take place in Pyeongchang, with the opening ceremony on Friday and competition starting the following day.

The event will feature 670 athletes competing for 80 medals across six sports.

Here’s the day-by-day guide to what to look out for at Pyeongchang 2018 – and the likely highlights for Great Britain and other leading nations.

Saturday, 10 March – day one

Winter Paralympics: Day-by-day guide to Pyeongchang Games
Winter Paralympics: Day-by-day guide to Pyeongchang Games

Medals to be decided

Para-alpine skiing: 6

Biathlon: 6

The opening day of competition features two of Britain’s main medal hopes starting their campaigns in the Para-alpine skiing by taking on the downhill course at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre.

Brett Wild and Millie Knight
Brett Wild is making his Winter Paralympics debut, while Millie Knight will be competing at her second Games

Millie Knight and guide Brett Wild are the downhill world champions but have not hit top form this season, while Menna Fitzpatrick and Jen Kehoe will be chasing a medal on their Paralympic debut.

The main challenge is likely to come from defending Paralympic champion Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia.

In the seated and standing classes, Anna Schaffelhuber of Germany and France’s Marie Bochet will also be aiming to retain their titles.

Scott Meenagh, who only took up Nordic skiing 18 months ago, will be making his Paralympic debut in the 7.5km seated biathlon – one of six medals up for grabs in the sport on day one – and one of six events the Scot is entered for across biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Wheelchair curling starts with Great Britain, bronze medallists four years ago, facing defending world champions Norway in their opening round-robin match, while the first session of Para-ice hockey games also take place.

British interest (all times GMT)

00:30-03:30: Para-alpine skiing – men’s and women’s downhill [Millie Knight & Brett Wild, Menna Fitzpatrick & Jen Kehoe, James Whitley, Chris Lloyd]

01:00-02:35: Biathlon – men’s 7.5km sitting [Scott Meenagh]

05:35-08:00: Wheelchair curling [GB v Norway]

Sunday, 11 March – day two

Medals to be decided:

Para-alpine skiing: 6

Cross-country skiing: 2

It will be a busy start to the Games for the alpine skiers. After the downhill on day one, it is the super-G on day two.

Four years ago in Sochi, Kelly Gallagher created history with guide Charlotte Evans when they won Britain’s first Winter Paralympic gold medal in the event.

Charlotte Evans and Kelly Gallagher
Charlotte Evans and Kelly Gallagher enjoyed a successful partnership

Since then, the Northern Irish skier has overcome the departure of Evans from the partnership and suffered a number of injuries – including a dislocated elbow and fractured ribs in a training crash, which kept her out of last year’s World Championships.

It hasn’t been the smoothest of preparations but Gallagher and new guide Gary Smith will be hoping to put on a good display.

The cross-country skiing programme starts with American Oksana Masters, a strong favourite in the women’s 12km sitting event.

Masters was born in Ukraine, near the Chernobyl nuclear plant, and was adopted at the age of seven by American speech therapy professor Gay Masters. She won rowing bronze at London 2012 – before switching to skiing and winning silver and bronze in Sochi. A gold would complete her medal collection nicely.

The USA are seeking a third successive Paralympic gold in the Para ice hockey – their first opponents are Japan, who won silver in 2010 but missed out on Sochi.

British interest (all times GMT)

00:30-04:00: Para alpine skiing – men’s and women’s Super-G [Millie Knight & Brett Wild, Menna Fitzpatrick & Jen Kehoe, Kelly Gallagher & Gary Smith, James Whitley, Chris Lloyd]

00:35-03:00: Wheelchair curling [GB v Switzerland]

01:00-02:35: Cross-country skiing – men’s 15km sitting [Scott Meenagh]

10:35-13:00: Wheelchair curling [GB v Finland]

Monday, 12 March – day three

Medals to be decided:

Para-snowboard: 5

Cross-country skiing: 4

Snowboard is the newest Winter Paralympic discipline – with another event and further categories added to the programme in Pyeongchang.

Having had no athletes in Sochi four years ago, Britain will have Owen Pick, Ben Moore and James Barnes-Miller creating history when they go in the snowboard cross event.

James Barnes-Miller
James Barnes-Miller first tried snowboarding on holiday in Bulgaria in 2010

Pick lost his leg while serving in Afghanistan in 2011; Moore and Barnes-Miller go in the events for athletes with arm impairments.

Moore won a World Championship bronze in snowboard cross in 2015 while Barnes-Miller was fourth in last year’s worlds.

Elsewhere, Canadian skiing star Brian McKeever will bid to add to his 10 Paralympic cross-country gold medals in the 20km freestyle event for visually impaired athletes.

The wheelchair curling round-robin continues, with GB facing Sweden and then Canada.

British interest (all times GMT)

03:00-06:00: Para-snowboard – snowboard cross [Owen Pick, Ben Moore, James Barnes-Miller]

05:35-08:00: Wheelchair curling [GB v Sweden]

10:35-13:00: Wheelchair curling [GB v Canada]

Tuesday, 13 March – day four  

Medals to be decided

Para-alpine skiing: 6

Biathlon: 6

Skiing’s super combined event is a true test of skill, with competitors doing a super-G run in the first session and, if they get through that, a slalom run in session two.

Millie Knight and Brett Wild won silver at last year’s worlds in the women’s VI category but Menna Fitzpatrick and Jen Kehoe are second in the world rankings behind Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia and her guide Natalia Subrtova.

GB curling team
The GB wheelchair curling team have won medals at two of the past three Winter Paralympics

In the men’s standing category, Aleksei Bugaev is the defending Paralympic champion. The Russian – competing under the Neutral Paralympic Athlete (NPA) banner – has been cleared to take part in Pyeongchang.

However, Australian Mitchell Gourley, Italy’s Robin Cuche and Markus Salcher of Austria filled the top three places at last year’s Worlds and lead the rankings going into the Games.

In the biathlon, the middle-distance events (10km/12.5km) take place with Scott Meenagh, who lost both legs serving in Afghanistan, going for Britain in the 12.5km seated event, where Germany’s Martin Fleig will hope to add Paralympic gold to his world title.

It’s a busy day for the GB wheelchair curling team of Aileen Neilson, Gregor Ewan, Bob McPherson, Hugh Nibloe and Angie Malone. The round-robin phase of the competition continues and they face games against Slovakia and the NPA.

British interest (all times GMT)

01:00-03:35: Biathlon – men’s 12.5km seated [Scott Meenagh]

01:30-04:00 & 05:00-07:30: Para-alpine skiing – men’s and women’s super combined [Millie Knight & Brett Wild, Menna Fitzpatrick & Jen Kehoe, Kelly Gallagher & Gary Smith, James Whitley, Chris Lloyd]

05:35-08:00: Wheelchair curling [GB v Slovakia]

10:35-13:00: Wheelchair curling [GB v NPA]

Wednesday, 14 March – day five

Medals to be decided

Para-alpine skiing: 3

Cross-country skiing: 6

On the slopes, the men’s slalom takes place at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre.

Britain’s James Whitley, who will be competing in his second Games at the age of 20, will be hoping for a top-10 place, having finished 15th four years ago.

James Whitley
James Whitley is the grandson of the former Prime Minister of Northern Ireland James Chichester-Clark

Whitley was born without hands and has had multiple operations to construct fingers, but he has limited feeling and movement, and skis without poles.

The visually impaired category could be a battle between Canada’s Mac Marcoux, 20, and Italian teenager Giacomo Bertagnolli.

Elsewhere, it’s a big day of action at the cross-country skiing – with the sprint events taking place across all six categories and taking in qualification, semi-finals and finals.

In qualification, athletes race against the clock but in the semi-finals and finals, it is a mass start involving six athletes in the seated and standing categories, and four athletes plus guides in the visually impaired categories, which can result in thrills and spills.

Four years ago, Canada’s Brian McKeever fell at the start of his race and found himself adrift of the rest of the field but still managed to recover and win gold.

British interest (all times GMT)

00:30-03:30: Para-alpine skiing – men’s slalom [James Whitley, Chris Lloyd]

00:35-03:00: Wheelchair curling [GB v Germany]

01:00-02:40 & 03:30-06:30: Cross-country skiing – sprint classic [Scott Meenagh]

05:35-08:00: Wheelchair curling [GB v USA]

Thursday, 15 March – day six

Medals to be decided

Para-alpine skiing: 3

It is the quietest day in terms of medals – yet although it is not their strongest event, Great Britain will still be hopeful of success in the women’s slalom – as Menna Fitzpatrick and Jen Kehoe, plus Millie Knight and Brett Wild, challenge Slovakia’s Henrieta Farkasova.

Menna Fitzpatrick and Jen Kehoe
Menna Fitzpatrick and her guide Jen Kehoe have enjoyed World Cup success this season

The women’s seated category could be an all-German battle with defending champion Anna Schaffelhuber up against team-mate Anna-Lene Forster. However, Austria’s Claudia Losch finished the season as the overall World Cup winner and could spoil the German party.

Favourite for the standing event will be France’s Marie Bochet, who has dominated this season.

It is also an important day in the wheelchair curling, with the final three rounds of pool games taking place before the semi-finals.

The final four in the Para-ice hockey will also be in action with the USA hoping to make it three gold medals in a row in the event.

British interest (all times GMT)

00:30-02:00 & 05:00-06:30: Para-alpine skiing – women’s slalom [Millie Knight & Brett Wild, Menna Fitzpatrick & Jen Kehoe, Kelly Gallagher & Gary Smith]

00:35-03:00: Wheelchair curling [GB v South Korea]

10:35-13:00: Wheelchair curling [GB v China]

Friday, 16 March – day seven

Medals to be decided

Para-snowboard: 5

Biathlon: 6

The British snowboard trio of Owen Pick, Ben Moore and James Barnes-Miller will be back in action in the banked slalom.

In the event, competitors have three runs down the course, with the best time counting.

Brenna Huckaby
Brenna Huckaby is part of a strong US Para-snowboard team at the Winter Paralympics

In the women’s events, American Brenna Huckaby, who travels on the World Cup circuit with her 17-month-old daughter, will be favourite in the SB-LL1 category – while the Dutch duo of Lisa Bunschoten and Bibian Mentel-Spee look strong in the SB-LL2 event.

A Mentel-Spee victory would be an emotional one, as she has been having radiation treatment for cancer over the past couple of years.

It is another busy and gruelling day for the biathletes, including Britain’s Scott Meenagh, as they go in the longest event, which covers 12.5km for the women and 15km for the men.

The wheelchair curling reaches the semi-final stage, with Great Britain hoping to be involved.

British interest (all times GMT)

00:35-03:30: Wheelchair curling tie-breakers (if needed)

01:00-03:05: Biathlon – men’s 15km seated [Scott Meenagh]

03:00-06:00: Para-snowboard – banked slalom [Owen Pick, Ben Moore, James Barnes-Miller]

06:35-09:00: Wheelchair curling semi-finals

Media playback is not supported on this device

Meet ParalympicsGB’s wheelchair curling team

Saturday, 17 March – day eight

Medals to be decided

Para-alpine skiing: 3

Cross-country skiing: 6

Wheelchair curling: 1

It is the final day of the men’s skiing events as the giant slalom programme finishes.

Sit-skier Christoph Kunz won gold in his category four years ago and will be a contender again but Jeroen Kampschreur of the Netherlands is the world champion, one of his three world titles.

Kampschreur, who is the first Dutch Para-alpine skier to win a world title, is a double above-the-knee amputee and also played wheelchair basketball at junior level for the Netherlands.

Brian McKeever
McKeever, who began skiing aged three, started to lose his sight as a teenager

In the cross-country events, the men’s 10km classic event provides another medal chance for Canada’s Brian McKeever, who is bidding for a fifth successive title in the event.

France’s Thomas Clarion won silver behind McKeever at last year’s worlds – but was more than 30 seconds behind the Canadian.

Medals are up for grabs in the wheelchair curling – four years ago, it was Norway who beat Russia to the gold, with Great Britain taking bronze.

British interest (all times GMT)

00:30-03:30 & 05:00-06:30: Para-alpine skiing – men’s giant slalom [James Whitley, Chris Lloyd]

00:35-03:00: Wheelchair curling bronze medal game

03:30-05:45: Cross-country skiing – men’s 7.5km classic seated [Scott Meenagh]

05:35-08:25: Wheelchair curling gold medal match

Sunday, 18 March – day nine

Medals to be decided

Para-alpine skiing: 3

Cross-country skiing: 2

Para-ice hockey: 1

The women’s giant slalom completes the alpine skiing programme and with Millie Knight and Brett Wild winning silver – and team-mates Menna Fitzpatrick and Jen Kehoe gaining bronze – at last year’s World Championships, the GB team will be hoping to finish on a high.

Marie Bochet
Marie Bochet is competing in her second Paralympics and is one of the stars of the French team

Again, Henrieta Farkasova and guide Natalia Subrtova will provide the main challenge at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre.

There should be a good contest in the standing category between defending champion Marie Bochet from France and German rival Andrea Rothfuss, who is the current world champion.

Rothfuss, who took slalom gold in Sochi four years ago, won her world title by 0.71 seconds and another close race is expected.

The last of the 80 medals will be awarded in the Para-ice hockey event, in which the USA have won gold at the past two Games.

British interest (all times GMT)

00:30-02:00 & 03:30-04:30: Para-alpine skiing – women’s giant slalom [Millie Knight & Brett Wild, Menna Fitzpatrick & Jen Kehoe, Kelly Gallagher & Gary Smith]

11:00-12:20: Closing ceremony

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