Win­ter Games team warms to task

Sunday Territorian - - SPORT -

TAL­ENT abounds in Aus­tralia’s Win­ter Par­a­lympic hope­fuls but they won’t be ex­pected to ar­rest the coun­try’s long wait for an­other gold medal.

To­day marks six months un­til the Pyeongchang Games and the Aus­tralian Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee (APC) is hope­ful of tak­ing a 15-strong team to South Korea. There are sev­eral un­knowns for the team af­ter the loss of their only two bronze medal win­ners at Sochi in 2014.

Alpine ski­ing world champion Mitchell Gour­ley is Aus­tralia’s best chance for a gold medal, while para-snow­boarder Ben Tud­hope is among the podium con­tenders af­ter mak­ing his Games de­but at 14 in Sochi.

An Aus­tralian has not stood atop the dais since 2002 when the coun­try fin­ished eighth with six gold medals thanks largely to skier Michael Mil­ton’s four gold haul.

Chef de mis­sion Nick Dean is tem­per­ing his ex­pec­ta­tions.

“It’s an un­known with re­spect to the ac­tual out­come but it’s a great group of young ath­letes. They could sur­prise at these Games,” Dean said.

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