Patmore wins gold at Winter Paralympics

Warren Barnsley
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SOUTH KOREA PYEONGCHANG 2018 PARALYMPICS

Simon Patmore has become Australia's first Paralympics gold medallist since 2002

Australia has claimed its first Winter Paralympics gold medal in 16 years with Simon Patmore taking out the snowboard cross in PyeongChang.

The 30-year-old also became the first Australian man to win medals at both a Winter and Summer Paralympics having won bronze in athletics at London 2012.

Patmore easily beat Italian Manuel Pozzerle in the two-man final of the upper limb disability class on Monday to win Australia's first medal of the Games.

Pollard was untroubled in the earlier rounds, qualifying third before winning through his head-to-head 1/8, quarter and semi-finals by comfortable margins.

He led Pozzerle from start to finish down the Jeongseon Alpine Centre course, with even a wobble midway through the race not enough to endanger his position.

"(I thought), 'oh s***'. Sorry. I thought it was over but thank God it was great snow conditions to keep me up," Patmore said.

"In the quarter-finals through to the final, I was holding back tears and holding back my emotion.

"My goggles fogged up as soon as I went over the line.

"I really want to show everyone that it can be done and all you have to do is just put in the effort and trust the process."

Patmore becomes Australia's first Winter Paralympic gold medallist since Michael Milton won four and fellow alpine skier Bart Bunting and his sighted guide Nathan Chivers two at Salt Lake City in 2002.

Jess Gallagher was the first and previously last Australian to win medals at both a Winter and Summer Paralympics.

She has bronze medals in alpine skiing from Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 and cycling in Rio 2016.

Patmore's performance vanquishes fears Australia would go medal-less at a Winter Paralympics for the first time since Innsbruck in 1988.

Those fears were heightened a day ago when world No.2 snowboarder and team co-captain Joany Badenhorst was ruled out of competition with a knee injury.

"We're a team, the Australian team, whether it's alpine or snowboard and hearing one of our team go down like that is heartbreaking," Patmore said.

"What she wanted for us though was to go out and do something amazing like this."

Patmore won bronze in the 200m T46 in London and 100m gold at the Commonwealth Games in the same class eight years ago.

He quit athletics to take up snowboarding in 2014 despite having no experience in the sport after hearing the Paralympics included an upper-limb disability category.

He is the 30th Australian to win medals in two or more Paralympic sports.

Patmore has Erb's palsy which affects muscle strength and movement.

Earlier, his compatriots Sean Pollard (upper limb) and Ben Tudhope (lower-limb category two) finished ninth and 10th respectively in the event.

"It's Simmi's day. We tried hard but it's boardercross and anything can happen," Tudhope said.

"Sometime it's our day, sometime's is Simmi's day but celebrate all the wins as a team."