23rd February 2022
Last modified on February 24th, 2022
ParalympicsGB has confirmed one of the biggest British teams ever to compete at a Paralympic Winter Games with the announcement of the Ski and Snowboard athletes for Beijing 2022. NEW
The 20 selected skiers and snowboarders will compete in Alpine skiing, Nordic skiing (biathlon and cross country) and Snowboard, alongside the five Wheelchair curlers who were announced in January 2022.
It means GB will have a team 25 for Beijing, the biggest at a Winter Paralympics since Lillehammer in 1994.
Alpine skiing features defending Paralympic Slalom champion and PyeongChang 2018 multi-medallist, Menna Fitzpatrick.
She will be competing with new guides Katie Guest and Gary Smith.
Menna Fitzpatrick in 2018- photo © ParalympicsGB
PyeongChang 2018 triple medallist, Millie Knight will again be partnered again by Brett Wild.
They are joined in the Visually Impaired class by Games debutant Neil Simpson, guided by his brother Andrew.
All three athletes enjoyed medal success at the 2021 World Championships in Lillehammer.
“It’s a huge honour to be selected to represent ParalympicsGB again, and I can’t wait to get out there and get started,” Menna Fitzpatrick said.
“The last two years have been disrupted due to injury and the pandemic and, with uncertainty about whether the Games would go ahead, let alone the qualification process, to have a seat on that plane is amazing.
“I’m super excited to travel to China as part of such an incredible team of athletes representing Great Britain.”
Shona Brownlee will be making her Games debut after taking up the sport just four years ago.
She is joined in the Sitting Class by Alex Slegg and Dan Sheen. Both went to PyeongChang on the Paralympic Inspiration Programme designed to give aspiring athletes a taste of the Games.
In the Standing Class, James Whitley will be looking to build on the experience he gained in multiple events at Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018.
James Whitley in 2018 – photo © ParalympicsGB
Five athletes have been selected, demonstrating the progress the sport has made since Scott Meenagh became the first British athlete to compete for 20 years at PyeongChang in 2018.
Meenagh is joined by fellow military veteran Steve Arnold, with both set to compete in the biathlon and cross-country events.
Debutant Callum Deboys, who was inspired to take up the sport after meeting Meenagh, will also compete in both biathlon and cross-country.
Steve Thomas competes in cross-country.
It will be his sixth Paralympics. He represented GB in sailing from 2004-2016 was in the Para ice hockey team at Turin in 2006.
Hope Gordon, also competes in cross-country and is the country’s first female Nordic athlete. She is also on the British Canoe high performance programme.
“I’m extremely proud to have been selected to go to my second Paralympic Winter Games,” Scott Meenagh said.
“To be here again four years later alongside four other Para Nordic skiers is just an amazing feeling, and a real confirmation of the progress we’re making as a country in the sport.
“It’s been a challenging couple of years for all of us, but knowing our efforts will see us ready to compete in Beijing shows the hard work has been worth it. I can’t wait to get out there and get amongst it with the team!”
Snowboard sees the return of two athletes who featured at PyeongChang 2018.
James Barnes-Miller had medal success at the World Championships in Lillehammer, and Owen Pick won a silver medal at the Klovsjo 2022 World Cup.
James Barnes-Miller – photo © ParalympicsGB
They are joined by Games debutants Ollie Hill – who won a World Championships bronze in the team event along with Barnes-Miller – and Andy MacLeod.
“I’m stoked to be a part of the squad for the Paralympic Winter Games, and I’m just buzzing to get out on the snow in Beijing,” James Barnes-Miller said.
“I learned so much from my first experience of the Paralympics four years ago and I want to bring all of that experience to the slopes when our events get started.
“We’ve got an incredible squad and we showed at the World Championships that we’re ready to compete with the best in the world. Bring it on!”
The Chef de Mission at Beijing, Phil Smith, said the team promised to be the most competitive across a wider range of sports than ever before.
“The determination, strength and resilience each of these talented athletes has shown as they have continued to train and compete during these most challenging times has been incredible and I have no doubt that they will once again unite and inspire the nation with their performances at Beijing 2022.
“We are looking forward to using Beijing to build on the success of the past two Paralympic Winter Games and further enhance our reputation as an emerging winter sport nation.”
Millie Knight Brett Wild in 2018 – photo © ParalympicsGB
The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games take place from 4th to 13th March. They are expected to be the biggest in history, featuring an estimated 600 athletes from more than 50 countries.