Monday, 19 March, 2018

Skiers grab Canada's first gold, bronze medals at Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics

5 2018 workers for the Pyeong Chang Winter Paralympic Games clear snow at Alpensia Biathlon Centre in PyeongChang Gangwon Province Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang officially begin with colourful opening ceremony
Melinda Barton | 13 March, 2018, 20:24

As the RPC remains suspended, Russian Para athletes will compete in the Winter Paralympic Games in South Korea's PyeongChang, held on March 9-18, in the neutral status.

France and the Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA) tied for second place with two gold and one silver medals apiece, reports Xinhua news agency.

Other Ukrainian biathletes, including Lyudmila Lyashenko, Oksana Shishkova, Igor Reptukh also earned medals during the first day of the games.

Now, it's not all rainbows and butterflies; North Korea and South Korea marched separately at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Paralympics, which commenced Friday.

"From tomorrow, Paralympic athletes will turn their dreams into reality".

Earlier in the day, Mollie Jepsen of Whistler, B.C. captured bronze in the women's downhill standing event, earning Canada's first medal of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

It's also the country's third medal at the Winter Paralympics.

Some of the adapted sports have become hits with spectators, such as fast and furious para ice hockey where competitors slide around on double-bladed sledges.

Three nations - North Korea, Georgia and Tajikistan - made their debuts at the Winter Games.

"[North Korea] does not accept the fact that Dokdo can not be marked due to political issues held in Korea", read a statement from the Korea Paralympic Committee.

21-year-old alpine skier Momoka Muraoka led the Japanese delegation at the opening ceremony.

Unlike the Olympics opening ceremony, North and South Korea's athletes did not march together after failing to agree on which version of the unified flag to use.

U.S. snowboarder Brenna Huckaby, who has a prosthetic leg, was the first female para-athlete to model a swimsuit for the United States magazine Sports Illustrated.

For the first time at a Winter Paralympics, two North Koreans will take part, both in cross-country skiing.

But the disagreement is considered a minor sticking point after what has been a swift thaw between the neighbours, starting with North Korea's decision in January to participate in the Olympics.

It is a turnaround from past year, when tensions soared as the North fired missiles that could reach the USA mainland and tested what it said was an H-bomb.