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Gourley bags second World Cup gold
Vancouver Paralympian Mitchell Gourley has won his second gold medal in as many months after the Australian took out the top prize at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup in Winter Park, USA overnight.
Gourley, who just last month won his first ever World Cup gold medal in Spain, again triumphed in the men’s standing giant slalom.
After a blistering 58.88 first run and an even better 58.52 second run, Gourley’s combined time of 1:57.40 sealed his victory, with a clear 3.76 second lead over silver placed Thomas Pfyl of Switzerland, who finished on 2:01.16.
The win continues a stellar winter season for the 20-year-old who is missing the lower part of his left arm. Earlier this year he picked up his first World Cup gold as well as three bronze during the European leg of the World Cup series which began in January.
“This is a fantastic result for Mitch,” said Australian Paralympic Alpine Skiing Head Coach, Steve Graham.
“Mitch has only recently moved from the development squad into the elite squad and is showing that he’s well and truly ready to be there and that he’s earned his place.”
While Gourley is the only Australian to compete at the World Cup in Winter Park, Australia’s developing sit-skiers have impressed at the Huntsman Cup in Park City, USA.
Despite emerging athletes Victoria Pendergast, Stuart Hume and Lincoln Budge not medalling, coach Graham is confident in their progress ahead of the Japan Para Alpine Skiing Championships later this month.
“Our developing sit-skiers have also had some great results, considering this was one of their first international competitions,” said Graham.
“I’m optimistic the three of these athletes can continue to improve in leaps and bounds in the next 12 months and will take immense benefits from training and competing in Japan in the next few weeks.”
Now just 729 days away, the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will take place in Sochi, Russia.
By Rebekka Wake