New Zealand paralympian Adam Hall thrilled the home crowd with a stand out gold medal winning performance at the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games IPC adaptive slalom at Coronet Peak today.
Hall, who skied the Rocky Gully Arena slope yesterday forerunning the ANC Continental Cup men’s slalom, was upbeat about the well prepared course and the conditions after a decisive win in the first run of 44.90 secs. "I had a slight hiccough in the second run but managed to maintain my composure. It’s been a good day all round and great to win at home". Hall says the Winter Games provide an excellent opportunity to showcase the sport in New Zealand. "It’s always good to be able to show New Zealand what we do on the road. The Winter Games means we can get the best athletes in the world to come down here and compete".
Australian paralympian Cameron Rahles-Rahbula was silver medallist in the men’s slalom standing category and had earlier flagged that Hall would be the man to beat. He clocked the fastest second run of 45.88, after making a mistake in the first, but Hall’s combined time of 1.31.59 was enough to take the title. Rahles-Rahbula finished in 1.34.29 while third place went to popular US Paralympics team member Ralph Green, the first African-American man to make the team, who recorded 1.35.87.
The Men’s slalom sitting category was won by Jong Seok Park of Korea who claimed the giant slalom title on Tuesday. He completed the course in 1.50.25 but was pressured by war amputee US paralympian Heath Calhoun, who had the fastest first run in 55.53, but crashed at the top of the course in the second finishing in 2.00.09. "I fell in both runs. I was skiing okay but you can’t win if you fall". The bronze medal was won by British Disabled Ski team member Peter Dunning, who lost both his legs in a roadside bombing attack in Afghanistan three years ago, with a combined time of 2.09.10.
Australian paralympian Melissa Perrine and her guide Andrew Bor added to their Giant Slalom gold medal, winning the Women’s Slalom visually impaired category by a clear margin. She finished in 1.58.63 with Jae Rim Yang and her guide Ko Woon Chung taking out silver in 2.48.62.
British skier Kelly Gallagher who won silver in the Winter Games giant slalom did not compete in the Slalom due to an injury sustained on a slalom course earlier in the season.
President of the International Paralympic Alpine Ski Federation Sylvana Mestre of Spain, representing the IPC at the Winter Games NZ, praised the organisers for the high standard of the adaptive skiing series. "The Winter Games is a great event and we have to try and bring more teams and athletes in the future. We had some good athletes here this year which was shown on the slope and in the results. But we want to build up programmes and training camps in the future so it will be good for the teams to come here".