Winter Paralympics: Kelly Gallagher not included in GB squad for Pyeongchang

Charlotte Evans and Kelly Gallagher
Kelly Gallagher (right) won gold at Sochi 2014

Sochi skiing gold medallist Kelly Gallagher has been omitted from the Great Britain squad for March's Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang.

GB's two allocated spots for visually-impaired skiers have gone to world champion Millie Knight and rising star Menna Fitzpatrick.

However, Gallagher could still earn a Games place when spare slots are reallocated later this month.

Four skiers and three snowboarders have been named in the GB squad.

Apart from Knight and Fitzpatrick, plus their respective guides Brett Wild and Jen Kehoe, there are also places on the ski team for standing competitors Chris Lloyd, who will be making his Games debut, and James Whitley, who competed in Sochi.

World Championship medallists Owen Pick and Ben Moore and James Barnes-Miller will be Britain's first Paralympic snowboard representatives.

The Games begin on 9 March.

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Northern Ireland's Gallagher and then guide Charlotte Evans created history in Sochi, winning Britain's first Winter Paralympic gold medal when they triumphed in the Super-G event.

The 32-year-old from County Down is back on the slopes with guide Gary Smith after suffering a broken elbow and fractured ribs in a training crash before last year's World Championships in Italy.

They will now have to wait until the end of this month to discover if other nations take up their allocated slots and whether Gallagher can compete at a third Games.

"Although this is a sad position to be in, we are committed as ever to being the best ski racers we can be," Gallagher tweeted.

"All we can do is keep training in the hopes that a spot will be found for us to compete in all disciplines. Whether that works out for us or not, who knows."

Knight, who at 15 was the youngest member of the ParalympicsGB squad in Sochi, is also back in action after a World Championships which saw her win Britain's first gold in the event before suffering concussion in a crash.

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"Four years ago in Sochi was a really fantastic experience and I learned a lot, but competing in Pyeongchang has always been my main goal," said Knight, who turns 19 later this month."

Fitzpatrick and Kehoe became the first Britons to win the overall VI World Cup title in 2016 and finished 2017 off in style with four medals at the first World Cup of the season in December.

Snowboard features both snowboard cross and banked slalom events with Pick competing in the category for athletes with lower-limb impairments after he lost his leg following an explosion while serving with the Royal Anglian Regiment in Afghanistan in 2010 aged 18.

Moore, who suffered nerve damage to his arm in a motorcycle accident which left it paralysed, and Barnes-Miller, who was born without a right hand and had £10,000 worth of equipment stolen in October, will both compete in events for athletes with upper limb impairments.

GB squad

Alpine Skiing: Millie Knight, Brett Wild (guide), Menna Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Kehoe (guide), James Whitley, Chris Lloyd

Snowboarding: Owen Pick, Ben Moore, James Barnes-Miller

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