Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Double gold has Kelly Gallagher dreaming

Kelly Gallagher secured Giant Slalom gold ahead of world champion Alexandra Frantseva

Kelly Gallagher is targeting Paralympic glory after claiming a remarkable double success at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup in Panorama, Canada.

Just 24 hours after winning her first ever World Cup gold in the Super Combined, the visually impaired Bangor skier took victory in the Giant Slalom, alongside her sighted guide Charlotte Evans.

They will now aim to finish the event with a third gold when they take part in the Super-G later today, which would be perfect preparation for the Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia, which start in just over three weeks time.

Kelly and Charlotte recorded the fastest times in both runs of the Giant Slalom to finish with an overall time of 2:13.28, giving them victory by a margin of almost five seconds.

Russian world champion Alexandra Frantseva and guide Pavel Zabotin (2:18.26) had to settle for second place behind Kelly for the second day in a row.

Melissa Perrine of Australia and guide Andrew Bor, who won the Downhill event, in which Kelly was second, took third in a time of 2:21:51.

"We are working in harmony together, so I am trusting and listening and working hard at it and Charlotte is doing exactly the same," said Kelly.

"It's a relaxed flow of things that normally comes out and we are doing everything that we can to make sure that we are doing that every day.

"We hope that all those days are going to add up into knowing that at the time when the (Paralympic) Games come or we have done our last race together that we have put everything into that and then you can be proud of yourself because you know that the two of us worked so hard for it that."

Charlotte said: "The first run, I personally was out of control. Kelly was having a great time behind me, but I was struggling.

"That second run was a lot better and we made good time. It feels great, it's good fun and we're working extremely hard, so it's starting to pay off and it's nice to see.

"I think we've still got a process of where we're going and what we're doing with it, so we just need to stick with our goals and keep working hard."

The timing of Kelly's success couldn't be better, with the Great Britain team for the Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia, due to be named next week.

There is little doubt over her selection as she is tipped to become the first British athlete to win Winter Paralympic gold, but now Kelly's name will be at the forefront when the make up of the team is made public in Glasgow next Thursday.

The World Cup rounds are viewed by Kelly as ideal preparation for Sochi as she aims to improve on here performance at the last Winter Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010, when she became the first Northern Ireland-born Paralympian.

Back then she finished sixth in the Slalom and then just missed out on a medal in the Giant Slalom by 3.36 seconds and had to settle for coming fourth.

Kelly, who only returned to competitive action last month after sitting out six months following hip surgery, will continue her preparations for the Paralympics at the next World Cup round in America.

The even at Copper Mountain, Colorado, the fifth World Cup tournament of the season, begins later in the week.

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