Vernon’s Curt Minard reached the quarterfinals in snowboardcross at the Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Minard was eliminated in the upper limb quarters by eventual silver medalist Manuel Pozzerle of Italy, leaving the Canadian with a sixth-place finish in his Paralympics debut.
It was also the debut for upper limb snowboardcross at the Paralympics, and Minard became the first competitor to wear bib No. 1.
“I went with a plan that entailed living in the moment and putting down some good qualifiers to set myself up for a solid position and lane choice for heats,” said Minard, who qualified fourth for the heats, setting up a championship round of 16 match against fellow Canadian Andrew Genge, a native of Oshawa, Ont. who now lives in Whistler.
Minard has never lost to Genge since he joined the national program, and the former member of Canada’s national amputee hockey team continued that trend Monday, defeating Genge to advance to the quarterfinals against Italy’s Manuel Pozzerle.
“He and I have jousted back and forth for wins over the past few years,” said Minard. “He had the start on me but I played it patient and when I saw an opening, I passed him and took him in the fastest portion of the course.
“I held my speed well but then caught a bit of a rough spot on the course. I could not maintain the edge and eventually wiped out and my podium dreams vanished.”
Pozzerle lost the gold-medal big final run to Australian Simon Patmore. American Mike Minor won the bronze.
Minard will have a chance for a medal in his second and final event Friday, the bank slalom.
“I was extremely honoured with the season I had in snowboardcross this year, while finishing second overall and being able to finish sixth at the Paralympic Games was a highlight and an extreme honour,” said Minard.
Monday was not a good day for Spallumcheen’s Ina Forrest and the Canadian wheelchair curling squad, as they fell from the ranks of the undefeated with a pair of losses.
Canada lost 7-5 to Korea and 8-1 to Great Britain to fall to 3-2 and in fifth place in the 12-team tournament.
“You know, some days you’re one with the rock. Other days, it’s like you’re two completely different entities,” said Forrest. “We just didn’t have the zen of curling today.”
China leads the standings at 5-0. Great Britain, Germany and Korea are all 4-1, then sits Canada alone in fifth place with six round-robin games remaining.