The 28-year-old, James Barnes-Miller has became Britain’s first-ever Para snowboarder to compete at the Paralympic Games when he launched out of the gates on his first qualification run for the snowboard cross competition at PyeongChang 2018 yesterday.
That run has given him a place in Great British sporting history. However, Barnes-Miller was so focused on the competition it didn’t occur to him until he checked his phone at the bottom of the slope!
“I didn’t realise I was the first,” he said. “It didn’t even cross my mind until ParalympicsGB posted it on Instagram and I checked my phone after.
“It’s a real honour. Three years ago I would have laughed at you if you’d told me I was going to the Paralympics.” While Barnes-Miller was the first he was followed closely out of the gates by teammates Ben Moore and Owen Pick – all three posting solid qualification times to secure their spots in the head-to-head races.
Unfortunately Moore lost his SB-UL 1⁄8 final to Italy’s Paolo Priolo while Pick was beaten in his SB-LL2 contest with Argentina’s Carlos Javier Codina Thomatis.
“I was pretty gutted after that,” said Pick. “I was feeling really good after my qualification runs and that race is one I think I would normally win.
“I just have to put this one behind me now. I can’t change anything now even if I wish I could. There’s nothing I can do so I just have to put it behind me.
“I didn’t snowboard as well as I know I can snowboard in that last run and that’s what upsets me most. It’s not the position or the result. It’s the fact that I know I can do better and I didn’t.”
There was more joy for Barnes-Miller who saw off the challenge of China’s Zihao Jiang to secure a quarter-final place.
Australia’s Simon Patmore lay in wait and, despite a closely contested race, Patmore took the lead early and held off the advances of Barnes-Miller to take the semi-final spot – Patmore eventually going on to take the gold medal.
But for Barnes-Miller it was a moment to savour and, with the banked slalom competition still to come for all three riders, the Broadstairs man was in an optimistic mood.
“Obviously I wanted a medal but, on the other hand, it was great racing and I’m really happy with how my riding was,” he added.
“If I get kicked out racing someone and it was a good race, then I’m happy. I think it was a good race. I enjoyed it and I hope everyone else enjoyed it. I’m happy.
“I’m at the Paralympics, what could be better? I’m just going to go and catch up with my family and chill out before the next race.”
Day three results: (SB-UL) James Barnes-Miller 7th place (Quarter-Finals beaten by Australia’s Simon Patmore). Ben Moore, 10th place (last 16, beaten by Italy’s Paolo Priolo).
Owen Pick, (SB-LL2) 9th place (last 16, beaten by Argentina’s Carlos Javier Codina Thomatis).