Para-Snowboarder Joany Badenhorst headlines the 13-member n team named for PyeongChang.The world’s form snowboarder Joany Badenhorst and super combined world champion Mitchell Gourley headline a 13-member team selected for next month’s PyeongChang Winter Paralympics.
Badenhorst and Mitchell were named co-captains for the Games in Korea last October.
Long before 24-year-old Badenhorst won gold medals in both the para-cross and banked slalom snowboard in World Cup races in Big White and Kimberley in Canada two weeks ago.
The results earned her the prestigious IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Crystal Globe for the best-performed snowboard athlete of the season.
Badenhorst, a leg amputee, heads a group of four snowboarders while Gourley, a lower arm amputee, will lead nine alpine skiers.
The team for the March 9-18 Winter Paralympics was announced by the n Paralympic Committee (APC) on Tuesday.
Gourley is the most experienced member with PyeongChang his third Winter Games.
The 25-year-old is searching for an elusive Paralympics medal off the back of winning the Super Combined world title in Tarvisio, Italy, last year.
The 13-strong team eclipses the 11 sent to Sochi in 2014.
Only five members of that team remain for PyeongChang – Gourley, Badenhorst, Ben Tudhope, Melissa Perrine and Tori Pendergast.
Perrine is also headed for her third Paralympics.
“It is a relatively young team compared to Winter teams at the past few Games which means it is a golden opportunity to really make a name for themselves with some breakthrough performances,” APC chief executive Lynne Anderson said.
“Of course, there is an experienced core of athletes who will lead from the front but there are also a lot of fresh faces ready and eager for their Paralympic debut.
“One thing I know they all have in common is that they are proud Paralympians seeking to reach new heights at the most important event of their careers.”
The team might swell by two as vision-impaired skier Shaun Pianta and his guide Jeremy O’Sullivan are awaiting medical clearance to compete.
Pianta injured his knee recently and is undergoing intense therapy.
AUSTRALIA’S WINTER PARALYMPICS TEAM
Para-alpine skiing – Mitchell Gourley (Vic), Patrick Jensen (NSW), Jonty O’Callaghan (Vic), Tori Pendergast (NSW), Melissa Perrine (NSW), Mark Soyer (Vic), Sam Tait (NSW), and sighted guides Lara Falk (Vic, for Jensen), Christian Geiger (Qld, for Perrine).
Para-snowboard – Joany Badenhorst (NSW), Simon Patmore (Qld), Sean Pollard (WA), Ben Tudhope (NSW).