Australia’s medal hopes for Beijing Winter Paralympics

Ben Tudhope of Australia competing during the Snowboard Men's Banked Slalom SB-LL2 run at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre during the Paralympic Winter Games in Jeongseon, South Korea, 16 March 2018. EPA/THOMAS LOVELOCK /

With the Opening Ceremony tonight, we take a look at Team Australia for the Beijing Winter Paralympic Games.

Australia has competed at 12 Winter Paralympics, debuting in 1976. We’ve won 34 medals (12 gold) with our best Games result in Salt Lake City in 2002 with six gold and one silver.

Team Australia boasts six para alpine skiers plus two sighted guides and one para snowboarder. Para alpine skier Josh Hanlon and sighted guides Bobbi Kelly and Amelia Hodgson will make their Paralympics debuts, while Rae Anderson will make her Winter Games debut after representing Australia at Rio 2016 Paralympics in javelin and discus.

Anderson will become the seventh Australian to have competed at both summer and winter Paralympics.

Ben Tudhope (Para snowboard cross, banked slalom) is one of our top medal hopes. The world No.1 para snowboarder will have a target on his back at his third Winter Paralympics. Still just 22, Tudhope will be a clear favourite in the snowboard cross (final: March 7) and will also eye a medal in the banked slalom (March 12).

The 2017 men’s super combined standing world champion, Mitch Gourley, will bow out after Beijing, his fourth Winter Paralympics. Gourley, 30, hopes to earn his first medal in the super combined (March 8) and the giant slalom (March 10)

Melissa Perrine (with sighted guide Bobbi Kelly) is competing at her fourth and final Paralympics. 34-year-old Perrine will again compete in the giant slalom (March 11), an event she claimed bronze in at PyeongChang. She won’t defend her super combined bronze from four years ago but will compete in the slalom (March 13).

Sam Tait is the adrenaline-chasing sit skier competing in four events in his second Games. Tait has his eyes firmly on a breakthrough medal in Saturday’s downhill.

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World number one, Aussie Ben Tudhope, ready for Beijing Paralympics

Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.