Two debuts and a piece of history in a tough morning for our cross-country skiers as Callum Deboys, Hope Gordon and Steve Thomas missed out on qualification for the sprint semi-finals.

Deboys placed 22nd in qualification, while Thomas, who made his first appearance of these Games, came 25th as only the top 12 progressed through to the semi-final stages.

Callum Deboys said: “For me and where I am that’s as good a result as I can get just now, it’s a super tough field, take nothing away from the rest of the athletes out there today it is a tough field in cross country, but for me and where I’m at I’m over the moon with that result,” said Deboys.

“It’s a lot in this environment and it’s quite overwhelming so I’m just trying to soak everything up and enjoy myself and get as much experience as I can with a view to the next Games.”

It was 17th place for Hope Gordon, (pictured above) who became ParalympicsGB’s first ever female Para Nordic skier. She said: “I’m just happy to have got round it in one piece, I would definitely have liked a little bit more but equally I’m quite realistic with my expectations and this morning I told myself ‘I’m not going to be too hard on myself’ and I’m going to try and stick to that because just to be here is so much more than I thought could be achieved within the time I’ve been in the sport,” said Gordon.

“I think it has been a really quick whirlwind but I think as well, all the training I’ve done in however many years before that is the reason why I’m here and it just so happens that I’ve been able to use that for this sport.

“I’ve got 7.5km on Saturday, never done one of them before, so not really got a huge amount of expectations, once again just try and get round it, it’s 7,300 metres longer than I’m used to racing.”

Steve Thomas: from "novice to Paralympian"

Former Paralympic sailor Steve Thomas said: “It felt amazing to be on the start line, it’s been a pretty quick journey over the last three years to go from novice to Paralympian in a different sport has been fantastic. Prep went really well, body felt pretty fresh, but obviously a bit disappointed with the final finish position but obviously a lot to work on,” explained Thomas.

“I think you have to push yourself to the limit, there’s a 38 field and there’s still a few people missing from that field so you’re probably talking about 50 people when it’s a full string competition. You have to push yourself from the start otherwise you find yourself pretty deep.”

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