UK & World News

  • 10 March 2014, 13:11

Paralympics: Gallagher Wins GB's First Gold

Partially-sighted Kelly Gallagher has won Britain's first ever Winter Paralympic gold medal with victory in the Women's Super-G.

The 28-year-old and her guide Charlotte Evans were the first skiers out on the Rosa Khutor course in Sochi and clocked one minute 28.72 seconds.

She then waited as her rivals failed to beat her time.

Jade Etherington won bronze with the help of guide Caroline Powell for her second medal of the competition.

Britain has had athletes in every Winter Paralympics since the first event in 1976, but had never won gold.

The three medals won so far surpasses the minimum target of two set by UK Sport.

"It was nerve-wracking but I'm delighted with the result," said Gallagher.

"Normally when we compete, even in big events like World Championships, there is nobody interested in what we are doing, but here there has been a lot of hype and pressure, as well as expectation, and maybe we let some of that in, so today we just decided to ski and see what happens.

"I have to thank Charlotte for getting me to the line. We just threw ourselves at it. I prayed for the strength to ski and have fun."

Gallagher, from Bangor in County Down, has oculocutaneous albinism, a condition with affects the pigment in her hair, skin and eyes.

She started skiing when she was 17 on a trip to Andorra.

Gallagher and Evans have been working together since 2010 and have previously won silver and bronze medals in the 2011 and 2013 World Championships.

Evans added: "I was yelling a lot and she wasn't doing what I told her, but finally it paid off. It didn't feel as good as we wanted to on the course, but who cares, we won a gold medal and it feels amazing."

The pair are in action again in Tuesday's Super Combined event.

Etherington and Powell will both compete in Friday's slalom.

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