Broadstairs Paralympic snowboarder misses out on medals – but still makes Games history

James Barnes-Miller has made Paralympic Games history

Former East Kent College student James Barnes-Miller has missed out on a medal at the Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang but still managed to make Games history.

For the first time, Great Britain had snowboarding representation at the Games after the sport made its debut at Sochi 2014. There were two medal events; snowboard cross and banked slalom.

James was one of two GB contenders to be selected in the classification for athletes with upper-limb impairments.

And James made history when he launched out of the gates for his first qualification run on Monday – he was also Britain’s first-ever Para snowboarder to compete at the Paralympic Games.

James was ninth after the first run, dropping a place after the second run. He pushed hard on the third run but took a fall.

Former St George’s student James said: ““I didn’t realise I was the first. It didn’t even cross my mind until ParalympicsGB posted it on Instagram and I checked my phone after.

“I didn’t get the results I wanted here but I have had the time of my life and learnt so much. I want to thank every one that’s supported me. It really has been overwhelming.”

James previously won two World Cup silver medals in Tahoe, California, last year and has been ranked 4th in the world in Snowboard Cross and 9th in Banked Slalom following championships in Tahoe and in Canada.

His place on the team looked uncertain after thieves broke into his van in Manchester and stole vital equipment needed by James to compete in the qualifiers.

Despite the setback he managed to secure his place.

James was born without his right hand, but this has not prevented him excelling in extreme sport.

He started out skateboarding, and then working, at Revolution in Broadstairs as well as surfing and rock climbing. Then five years ago James discovered a talent for snowboarding during a holiday in Bulgaria and, after being spotted, trained with and qualified for the GB team.