Ukraine top medals table after day one of Paralympics

Seven medals in total for Ukraine as Grygorii Vovchynskyi dedicates gold to his country

Ukraine finished the opening day of the Beijing Winter Paralympics on top of the medal table after claiming three golds as Millie Knight and Brett Wild won Great Britain's first medal of the Games.

Grygorii Vovchynskyi was the first Ukrainian to taste gold in the men’s sprint standing biathlon as his country claimed seven medals.

Vitaliy Lukyanenko led a Ukrainian one-two-three in the men’s sprint vision impaired biathlon, with Oleksandr Kazik and Dmytro Suiarko winning silver and bronze respectively, while Oksana Shyshkova took victory in the women’s event.

Vovchynskyi dedicated his triumph to his country and called for an end to Russia’s invasion.


“It was difficult for me when the war began. I cried every day,” Vovchynskyi said, according to the BBC.

“I didn’t understand what happened. What can I do? I can dedicate this race to Ukraine, for peace [for the] people in Ukraine.

“Please stop war, it’s very important for our children.”

In the men’s sprint seated event, Taras Rad took silver, with Liudmyla Liashenko also second in the women’s sprint standing.

Russian and Belarusian athletes are banned from competing at the Games.

Knight, who had suffered a number of crashes and concussions ahead of the event and even questioned her future in the sport, celebrated bronze in the women’s visually-impaired downhill.

The 23-year-old, with guide Wild, added a further medal to their silver from four years ago.

“At the start I was just thinking, find the seconds, do anything you can do to go faster, it doesn’t matter if you’re scared, keep going,” Knight said.

“This bronze is something very special. It ranks above our silver four years ago in Pyeongchang.

“We have gone through some tough things and it has changed us.

“Brett’s belief and confidence in me has very much inspired me and made me want to do it, not just for me, my family, friends and sponsors, but for him.

“Crossing the line with a smile on my face was our number one goal. We genuinely didn’t believe we were at the level that would get us a medal, especially with the standard at the moment.

“I feel like I’m on cloud nine and I just genuinely can’t believe that this is happening to us.”

Knight’s compatriot Menna Fitzpatrick finished in fifth alongside guide Gary Smith.

In the men’s visually impaired downhill, Neil Simpson, guided by his brother Andrew, finished seventh.

In the men’s standing division, James Whitley finished ninth, his highest ever finish in his third Winter Paralympics, while Scott Meenagh came ninth in the men’s sprint seated biathlon.