Paralympic skier Kelly Gallagher wins World Cup gold

By Nick HopeBBC Paralympic sports reporter
Northern Ireland's Kelly Gallagher is hoping to become the first competitor from the UK to win a gold medal at a Winter Paralympic Games.

British Paralympic medal prospect Kelly Gallagher has boosted her Sochi Games prospects with victory at the World Cup in Canada.external-link

The visually-impaired skier, who also competed at the Vancouver Games in 2010, won gold in the super-combined event.

It was her first World Cup victory of the season alongside guide Charlotte Evans.

Gallagher said: "We had fun and it's just training for the big event."

The British pair were fastest in both the downhill and slalom event, finishing in a combined time of two minutes 1.35 seconds.

They were a clear distance ahead of world champions Alexandra Frantseva and guide Pavel Zabotin of Russia, who finished in 2:13.68, while USA pair Danelle Umstead and Robert Umstead came third in 2:26.11.

Kelly Gallagher
Kelly Gallagher was out for six months in 2013 recovering from hip surgery.

County Down skier Gallagher, 28, and English guide Evans will be encouraged by their form after they also finished second in the downhill competition on Friday.

The duo only returned to full-time competition in December, with Gallagher spending the previous six months off the slopes recovering from hip surgery.

Gallagher, who won four medals at the World Skiing Championships last month, has already stated her aim to become Britain's first winner of a Paralympic gold medal.

Fellow Paralympian Anna Tunney achieved a career-high for a World Cup competition with fourth place in the downhill element of the super-combined event.

She was just 0.79 seconds off the podium at that stage in the women's sitting category, but crashed out of the slalom race.

The World Cup in Panorama continues on Monday with the super-G event, while the giant slalom competition is on Tuesday.

The British team for the Sochi Winter Paralympics,external-link which begin on 7 March in Russia, will be named on 23 January.