Northern Ireland's 'blind' Paralympic skier Kelly Gallagher has won gold at the World Cup in Canada
he visually-impaired athlete from Bangor, Co Down is tipped to become a household name if she becomes the first British athlete in history to claim a gold medal at the forthcoming Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi this March.
And now she has boosted her prospects by winning gold in the super-combined event at Panorama Mountain Village, B.C.
Gallagher, 28, who competes in the B3 class for partially sighted athletes alongside her guide Charlotte Evans, was fastest in both the downhill and slalom event, finishing in a combined time of two minutes 1.35 seconds.
They were a clear distance ahead of world champions Alexandra Frantseva and guide Pavel Zabotin of Russia, who finished in 2:13.68, while USA pair Danelle Umstead and Robert Umstead came third in 2:26.11.
Gallagher said: "Charlotte and I worked really well together today. We had a lot of fun and it's just training for the big event."
Gallagher and Evans have had an impressive year. They won two silver and two bronze medals at the IPC World Championships in February 2013, gold and bronze at the World Cup Finals, and to finish 2013 off in December, they won 3 gold and silver at the Europa Cup.
The World Cup in Panorama continues on Monday with the super-G event, while the giant slalom competition is on Tuesday.
The British team for the Sochi Winter Paralympics, which begin on March 7 in Russia, will be named on January 23 and Kelly Gallagher is Great Britain's best hope.
She said last year: "My goal has always been to win a Paralympic gold medal.
"And all the sacrifices I have made have been with a view to becoming the best I can possibly be.
"When I came so close in Vancouver I was really buzzing because I knew my technique was lacking, and it motivated me because I realised how good I could be if I really committed."
Last week Gallagher was awarded the Mary Peters Trust Outstanding Sportsperson of 2013 Award in recognition of her outstanding sporting performance.
Gallagher going for Sochi gold