The Paralympics are well underway and have been full of excitement; the home crowds have turned out in hordes to cheer on every athlete as they strive for success on in the different disciplines.
The games were set to be the biggest Winter Paralympics to date with the number of athletes and countries participating eclipsing the previous totals. But the locals have made it the most seen games of all time, 21,000 people turned up to see the opening ceremony and over 300,000 have been live at the different events, already surpassing ticket sales for Sochi 2014 with plenty of events still to come and tickets still available PyeongChang 2018 is putting it’s name in the record books.
On the Ice and Mountains athletes from 24 countries have found themselves on the podium so far taking home their share of the 160 medals given out thus far and athletes from the other 25 countries will be keen to leave their mark on the games as the end draws nearer.
USA are currently say at the top of the table with 21 total medals, Neutral Paralympic Athletes (consisting of Russian athletes) are in second place with Slovakia performing better than many expected in third place.
How are South Korea doing?
South Korean athletes have got close in a few events so far but have only made it to the podium once and sit in joint 22nd, but it is early days and there are still plently of chances for more athletes to find the podium and help reach their target of 4 medals!
Sin Eui Hyun brought home the Bronze medal after a tough race in the Sitting 15km Cross Country Skiing, finishing in 42 minutes and 28.09 seconds! He was 52 seconds behind the eventual winner but was greeted at the finishing line by a huge cheer from the locals. He followed his success up with the Cross Country 1.1km Sprint Sitting event where he made it to the final after a strong performance throughout, qualifying in 8th place and improving to finish 2nd in his semi final but he couldn’t match the pace of the medal winners in the final and faded into last place of the 6 finalists. He goes again on Saturday in the 7.5km Cross Country Skiing Sitting event where he is one of the medal favorites, fingers crossed he finds the podium again!
In the Ice Hockey rink the Korean team has lived up to the hype that surrounded them in the build up to the games, they got off to a flying start beating Japan 4-1 and followed that with a tight 3-2 victory over Czech Republic before coming up against the USA who alongside Canada are the strongest teams at the games, Korea lost 8-0 which is a better result than either of USA’s other opponents could muster. Korea’s two wins have secured a Semi final place where they face Canada who have so far won 17-0, 10-0 and 8-0, it will take something very special for Korea to win, but a good performance will make them strong favorites for a Bronze medal against likely opponents Italy.
In the Curling arena the Korean team is yet again hammering their opponents, the success of the Women’s team in the Winter Olympics has got the nation hooked on Curling and the Wheelchair Curling team has lived up to expectations. Currently sitting in joint second place with Canada, Korea have so far beaten USA, the Neutral Team, Slovakia, Canada, Finland and Switzerland! There are 4 more games before the Semi Finals, but with the home crowd on their side and all the confidence they showed in the build up to the games we can expect to see them proudly on the podium on Saturday.
By Imran Ali