12 March 2022
Steve Arnold marks Paralympic debut with top-30 finish
Steve Arnold made his long-awaited Paralympic debut with a top 30 finish in the cross country middle distance race.
Crossing the line in 29th place in a time of 43:04.6, Arnold made his first appearance of the Games having been forced to miss the opening biathlon and cross country races because of a positive COVID test he returned prior to arriving in China.
Finally cleared to compete in time for today’s event, Arnold lined up alongside teammates Callum Deboys, Scott Meenagh and Steve Thomas who finished 21st, 16th and 32nd respectively.
Hope Gordon placed 16th overall in the women’s race in 38:01.4.
A Paralympian at last as Steve Arnold competes in cross country middle distance
“It’s an amazing feeling, I’ve got so many emotions at the minute,” said Arnold.
“After missing out on the first few races, it’s nice to get out and do a race, I feel proud and I hope I’ve done all my friends and family proud.”
“I’ve done what I needed to do today, I’m not happy with the result but it’s more about coming out here, competing at a Paralympic Games and achieving what I’ve been striving to do for the last five years.
“It was definitely all worth it, I can’t thank my friends and family enough for the last 48 hours keeping me positive, I’m glad it’s done and I’m now a Paralympian which is what I’ve been trying to do for the last five years so it’s great to actually race.
That was hard, I think mash tatties is the word to describe the conditions today.
Competing for the first time over the 7.5km distance, Gordon admitted that despite the soft snow conditions, she was proud of her performance after having spent just nine weeks on snow.
“That was hard, I think mash tatties is the word to describe the conditions today, it just felt like ploughing through mash tatties from start to finish,” said Gordon.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever done a 7.5km to nothing like being thrown in at the deep end against the best girls in the world at the highest level so I think I can take a bit of pride in just getting round that course.”
Scott Mennagh racing at Beijing 2022
Following the high of a sixth-place finish in Friday’s biathlon, Meenagh couldn’t quite reproduce the form that took him to his best Paralympic result, but stated that today’s race was all about seeing his teammate and long-time friend Arnold make it to the start line.
“Today was about seeing Steve Arnold on the start line. The journey that he’s been on would put most people to the absolute limit. The way he’s taken everything in his stride has been remarkable and I don’t say that lightly.
He’s really overcome a lot to be here and he’s always done it with a smile on his face which I think it the epitome of the man. I feels so humble, so proud to be on the start line with him, he’s been on this journey from the very start, he narrowly missed out on the Pyeongchang Paralympic Games and he’s really had to fight to make it on the start line today. That’s what it’s all about.
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