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Team GB grabs first medal in Sochi Paralympics

Jade Etherington and her guide Caroline Powell crowned their first season racing together by winning Great Britain's first Paralympic medal on snow in 20 years in Sochi.

Etherington, who celebrates her 23rd birthday on Sunday, is visually impaired and communicates with Powell down the course via radio.

The pair became the first British women ever to win a Paralympic skiing medal, despite the short time they've been racing together.

It was only last April that they first got to know each other, August they first skied competitively together and January this year they first competed as a pair in a downhill.

Sole Ukrainian takes part in Paralympics ceremony

A Ukrainian athlete was greeted by rapturous applause as he took part in the opening ceremony to the Paralympic Games in Sochi.

Ukraine's flag-bearer Mykhaylo Tkachenko arrives in the stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Credit: Reuters

Mykailo Tkachenko was the only athlete from Ukraine's team of 31 to participate in the ceremony.

Mr Tkachenko was the only representative from Ukraine at the opening ceremony. Credit: Reuters

Ukraine agreed to compete in the Games despite the country's tense stand-off with Russia in the Crimea region over the past week.


Ukraine 'will leave Paralympics' if Russia invades

Ukraine's Paralympic chief said the country would pull out of the Games if Russian troops invade.

"I am very afraid that despite the world's wishes and my call that the irreversible will happen during the Paralympics. I declare: we will pull out of the 11th Paralympic Games in Russia that very second if the thing we fear and which we are against...happens," Valeriy Sushkevich said.

Putin asked to 'ensure peace' during Paralympic Games

Ukraine's Paralympic chief has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure peace during the Winter Games.

"I repeated my one request, the one and most important request, that before and during (the Games) there will be peace," Valeriy Sushkevich said.

Ukraine to stay in Paralympics and 'raise flag for peace'

Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy has tweeted:


Approved boot cover caused Mills 'intolerable pain'

The boot Heather Mills was made to wear to comply with International Paralympic Committee Olympic guidelines caused her "intolerable pain", her management company has said.

The IPC ruled that Mills' new adaptive equipment had not been ratified and she would not be able to compete in the skiing event in 2014 Sochi Paralympic games unless she reverted back to using the approved equipment.

The ex-wife of Paul McCartney subsequently abandoned her plans to compete and withdrew from the selection process - a decision the British Paralympic Association described as "sad".

Heather Mills has withdrawn from the selection process for the games. Credit: PA Wire

Mills' management company said the former model was "forced to wear a purely cosmetic, non-relevant full boot cover over her prosthetic leg, adding unnecessary weight and causing intolerable pain", according to the BBC.

The International Paralympic Committee refuted the suggestions and insisted all athletes had to abide by the same rules.

The authority reiterated that only approved adaptive equipment can be used in events.

IPC: Mills' 'disgraceful outburst left staff shocked'

Heather Mills' alleged outburst left the head of the Paralympic alpine skiing committee "extremely shocked and upset", according to a spokesman for the sporting authority.

"Heather's aggressive behaviour and verbal abuse has left Sylvana [Mestre] extremely shocked and upset," said Craig Spence, the International Paralympic Committee's Director of Communications, in a statement.

"Para-athletes are role models and an inspiration to billions of people around the world. This disgraceful outburst is not what we expect from any athletes competing in our competitions and will not be tolerated."

Heather Mills was hoping to compete in a ski event at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics. Credit: PA Wire

Mills claims Mestre shouted at her, with her management team accusing the IPC of waging a "vendetta" against her.

The IPC said the incident involving Mills and Mestre was witnessed by a number of people, and insisted Ms Mestre was just trying to enforce the rules and offer the former model a solution to the issue.

"There can be no excuse for such aggressive and intimidating behaviour towards such a highly respected and experienced official within the Paralympic Movement."

British Paralympic team 'saddened' by Mills' withdrawal

The British Paralympic Association has said they were "saddened" by Heather Mills' withdrawal from the selection process for the 2014 Sochi Paralympic game following a dispute with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) over her adaptive equipment.

The IPC have since accused Mills of "harassing a Paralympic official" after the decision, however the former model's spokesman claimed there was a "vendetta" against her.

In a joint statement, the British Paralympic Association and British Disabled Ski Team said: "The British Disabled Ski Team were informed by IPC Skiing that there was an issue with the adaptive equipment that Heather Mills was using that needed to be addressed before she would be allowed to compete.

Heather Mills was hoping to compete in a ski event at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics. Credit: PA Wire

"As a result of this and on the back of an injury, Heather Mills has decided to resign from BDST, thereby removing herself from the selection process for the Sochi Paralympic Games.

"Occasionally in sport equipment issues arise, especially with adaptive equipment and the interpretation of the rules in relation to its use.

"Therefore we are all saddened that she has decided to retire at this stage, rather than working with BDST and IPC Skiing to resolve the issue."

Heather Mills won World Cup ski silver in August

Heather Mills won a World Cup silver medal in the women's adaptive slalom event earlier this year in New Zealand.

Mills, who joined the British Disability Skiing team in 2010, also won four gold medals at the US Adaptive Alpine Skiing National Championships last year.

The IPC claim Mills went into a "wild tantrum" after learning that she would not be allowed to compete. Credit: PA Wire

Mills, who had her left leg amputated below the knee following a collision with a police motorbike in 1993, had hoped to compete in the 2014 Sochi Paralympics.

However following a dispute with the International Paralympic Committee over adaptive equipment, Mills withdrew from the selection process.

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