Para-snowboarder Simon Patmore wins Australia’s first gold at Winter Paralympics


Related Story: Aussie flagbearer Joany Badenhorst out of Winter Paralympics with injury

Para-snowboarder Simon Patmore has won Australia's first Winter Paralympics gold medal in 16 years, taking out the men's snowboard cross SB-UL big final at Pyeongchang.

Patmore, who won a bronze medal in the 200 metre T46 event at the London summer Paralympics in 2012, beat Italy's Manuel Pozzerle to clinch the gold — Australia's first Winter Paralympic title since the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.

External Link: AUS Paralympic Team tweet: IT'S GOLD!! Simon Patmore has won Australia's first Para-snowboard medal and first Paralympic gold since 2002! #WeBelieve @skiandboardaus @Paralympics @Ausport

He becomes the fifth Australian athlete — after Michael Milton (six gold medals), Bart Bunting and his guide Nathan Chilvers (two), Michael Norton (two) and James Patterson (one) — to win a Winter Paralympic title.

Patmore is also the first Australian para-snowboarder to win a medal at a Winter Games.

The 30-year-old Queenslander was born with Erb's palsy, causing nerve damage in his left arm.

Patmore's teammate Sean Pollard made it to the 1/8 final before losing to Italy's Jacopo Luchini.

Patmore easily beat Pozzerle in the two-man final of the upper limb disability class on Monday.

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 shit'. 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."

Australia feared coming home medal-less

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 number two 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."

Supplied image from February 19, 2018 of Australian Para-Snowboarder Joany Badenhorst.

Patmore 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.

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.

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