Updated: Saturday, 24th March 2018 @ 6:02am

Menna Fitzpatrick ignores 'churning stomach' to claim PyeongChang Paralympic bronze in style

Menna Fitzpatrick ignores 'churning stomach' to claim PyeongChang Paralympic bronze in style

| By Ross Lawson in PyeongChang

For the second day in succession a flood of tears came from alpine skier Menna Fitzpatrick – only this time they were in celebration of her first Paralympic medal.

The British athlete bounced back from an opening day setback to secure a valiant bronze in PyeongChang, replicating a super-G performance she has delivered through the entire World Cup season.

Yet after crashing out of Saturday’s downhill as the very first skier at the Winter Games, just keeping a cool head in the starting gate was going to be a challenge for the visually impaired skier.

But calm and collected she was with guide Jennifer Kehoe, coming down the piste second and clocking a time of 1:34.54 behind ParalympicsGB’s teammates Millie Knight and Brett Wild.

By then just finishing the race was the achievement of the day – one medal later and the pair have added a treasured bronze bonus to their luggage.

“It’s been up and down, a real emotional roller-coaster over the past 24 hours – I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much about skiing,” said the 19-year-old.

“Yesterday was a bit of a downer but we still went out there ready to race, I’m still proud of what we did then and of course what happened today.

“I was a little bit nervous at the top in the start gate, my heart was beating really fast and the stomach was churning, but we certainly came back and as soon as you get out of that start gate, it’s your moment to shine.

“That’s your moment to put in the maximum effort and show what you can do, thankfully we’ve been able to do that.”

Still a teenager and already a Paralympic debutant, some may have feared the Games could have crumbled around Fitzpatrick, desperate just to get that first completion on the board.

Only silver medallists Knight and Wild and champions Henrieta Farkasova and Natalia Subrtova finished ahead of them however, with a day of rest now in store with a chance to reflect on a chaotic 24 hours.

Then the hard work begins again, competing in the super-combined on Tuesday before the slalom and giant slalom wrap up a week she won’t forget.

Only now she’ll do so with a spring in her step.

“As soon as you hit the first gate the nerves usually go, it comes in and out depending on the slope but that race was really good fun, that’s what we try and focus in on,” added Fitzpatrick, who has only five per cent vision.

“In my head this was one of my big dreams – finally that dream has come true.

“I’m just so proud of working with Jen and now we’re super excited for the rest of the week.

“We know from the past races this season that we can absolutely fly, I’m really excited about that because we’ve got another super-G race – we know we can do it so it’s about trying to show that.”

Sainsbury’s is a proud long-term supporter of the British Paralympic Association and a champion of inclusive sport for all. For more information on Sainsbury’s commitment to inclusive sport visit http://www.j-sainsbury.co.uk/