Winter Paralympics: Snowboarder Owen Pick to carry GB flag at opening ceremony

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Owen Pick is one of three snowboarders on the Great Britain teamSnowboarder Owen Pick will be Great Britain's flag bearer at the Winter Paralympics opening ceremony in South Korea on Friday.Games debutant Pick, 26, lost his leg aged 18 while serving with the British Army in Afghanistan.He will lead out the British team at the 35,000-capacity Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium.
"To represent my country under the same flag as I fought under is huge for me," he said.Up to 670 athletes from 68 nations, including Russians competing under a neutral flag, will walk out into the stadium at the opening ceremony, which begins at 11:00 GMT.Two North Korean competitors, who will race in cross-country skiing, are expected to walk under a united flag with South Korea's athletes, as happened at the Winter Olympics.
What are GB's medal targets[/img]

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Kelly Gallagher (right) and Charlotte Evans won Britain's first medal on snow - at an Olympics or Paralympics - in SochiThe target for GB at Pyeongchang is to win between six and 12 medals, with an ambition of at least seven. If achieved, it would be their second-highest medal haul after the 10 at Innsbruck, Austria, in 1984 and their best since National Lottery funding began in 1997."It is quite a lot, and it's also a really tough target," said ParalympicsGB's chef de mission Penny Briscoe."Not that we should be daunted by that, because obviously investment is linked to performance."And the increased investment post-Sochi means that we're hoping that that will have had a positive impact on the preparation of the athletes."
Who are ParalympicsGB's prospects[/img]

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Millie Knight and her guide Brett Wild made their international debut in March 2016GB will have snowboard interest at a Paralympics for the first time, after the sport's introduction four years ago, with James Barnes-Miller and Ben Moore in the upper limb impairment classification and Pick in the lower limb classification.All three will race in snowboard cross on Monday and banked slalom on Friday, and will offer outside chances of medals after all registered top-10 finishes at the most recent World Championships.Four out of the five members of the 2014 bronze medal-winning wheelchair curling team, skipped by Aileen Neilson, will return in the hope of a repeated medal success.The line-up of Neilson, Gregor Ewan, Hugh Nibloe, Bob McPherson and Angie Malone won bronze at the 2017 World Championships at the same venue where they will start their Paralympic Games campaign against world champions Norway on Saturday.
What's happening with Russia[/img]

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Russia was also banned from the 2016 Paralympics in RioAround 30 Russian athletes, all of whom must have had at least two anti-doping tests in the past six months, are expected to compete across alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country, snowboard and wheelchair curling. That is compared with 68 athletes at Sochi, where Russia topped the medal table with a record total of 80.Briscoe said the British Paralympic Association feels "comfortable" with the inclusion of Russian athletes at the Games."The IPC took a strong position regarding Russia in 2016," she said. "Some progress has been made but not as much as heeds to be.""Strategically, the IPC has made a very good decision by allowing athletes who can demonstrate they are clean to compete in the Games. We hope eventually that NPC Russia can compete as part of the Paralympic family."
Will the weather affect the Games[/img]


The snow has affected on the pre-event training for the skiersIPC president Andrew Parsons told BBC Sport on Thursday: "We have a lot of snow today so we will have to see how that affects the opening ceremony, which is outdoors."We have been working closely with the organising committee but when it comes to the skiing we have to see how it goes - and see about the quality and how much snow we have. But we have experienced officials on the ground to make the right decisions."We are not worried about fitting everything in - there are plans in place."
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