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Kelly Gallagher claims fourth at Winter Paralympics

Kelly Gallagher

Gallagher impresses in giant slalom

Kelly Gallagher put in a superb second run to finish fourth in the giant slalom for visually-impaired athletes at the Winter Paralympics.

The 25-year-old, who is Northern Ireland's first Winter Paralympian, scored Britain's best result by a Paralympic skier since 1994.

Meanwhile, the ParalympicsGB curlers kept alive their semi-final hopes with a must-win 9-2 victory over Germany.

Gallagher, with guide Claire Robb, moved up from ninth after run one.

The pair clocked the third-fastest second run time, beating their first run by 2.75 seconds at Whistler Creekside on Tuesday.

Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia won gold with Sunday's slalom champion, Sabine Gassteiger of Austria, second and Canada's Viviane Forest third, 3.36secs ahead of Gallagher.

"I'm over the moon. It would have been amazing to be third but fourth is amazing too," said Gallagher.

"This is our third GS race together. The first one we came first, the second one I DNF'd (did not finish) and this one we got fourth, so I can't ask for more.

"I didn't deserve to do so well after the first run because I didn't really ski. I just came out of the start gate and tried to go for it but I was sliding and we weren't skiing the best.

"That (second run) is probably close to our good skiing."

Gallagher had finished sixth in Sunday's slalom event but can be proud of her performances in her debut Games.

Britain's last Paralympic Winter Games medals in alpine skiing came 16 years ago in Lillehammer, when Richard Burt (twice), James Barker, Matthew Stockford and Peter Young all won bronze.

But there was disappointment for the rest of the ParalympicsGB ski team as Jane Sowerby was disqualified in the women's sitting event after her first run for a rolling start and Anna Turney, who fell early in her second run in the seated giant slalom, failed to finish with heavy fog affecting the course at the time.

Turney was seventh in her first run but the conditions put paid to her chances of moving up the leaderboard.

The race was won by Alana Nichols who was also part of the victorious US wheelchair basketball team in Beijing in 2008 and becomes the first US woman to win both Summer and Winter Paralympic golds.

Sean Rose also suffered bad fortune in the men's seated giant slalom after having to abort his first run following an injury to the competitor ahead of him and then falling two gates from the end of his second.

He was uninjured and will next race in his favourite event, the downhill on Thursday.

Super-G specialist Talan Skeels-Piggins finished 15th but Tim Farr, who looked to have ended 15th, was disqualified for leaving the start gate too early. Russell Docker also crashed out on his first run.

At the Vancouver Paralympic Centre, British wheelchair curling skip Michael McCreadie celebrated his 64th birthday with victory over Germany in just six ends.

The all-Scottish quartet of Angie Malone, Tom Killin, McCreadie and Aileen Neilson at fourth, had won only one of their first five round-robin games and needed to win the remaining four to secure a top-four place and advance to the semis.

Leading 2-1 after three ends, Neilson's final stone of the fourth gave the team three points.

The Germans took one back in the fifth to return the hammer to the British and McCreadie's team made the most of it, killing the game off with four points to force a concession.

GB v Germany

GB curlers secure vital win over Germany

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see also
Curlers demand 'Cup final' spirit
16 Mar 10 |  Disability Sport
GB curlers win as skiers impress
15 Mar 10 |  Disability Sport
GB team suffer poor opening day
14 Mar 10 |  Disability Sport
Gallagher added to Vancouver team
03 Feb 10 |  Disability Sport
Winter Paralympics get under way
13 Mar 10 |  Disability Sport
Team GB ready for Paralympics
11 Mar 10 |  Disability Sport

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