Slovakia's Farkasova wins first gold of Winter Paralympics

web_photo_Henrieta_Farkasova_10032018

Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia competes.

Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia competes.

web_photo_Henrieta_Farkasova_10032018

Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia competes.

Henrieta Farkasova of Slovakia competes.

PYEONGCHANG - Slovakia&39;s Henrieta Farkasova won the first gold medal of the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics Saturday in women&39;s vision impaired downhill skiing, while the USA got off to good start with victories in the biathlon.

Farkasova and her guide Natalia Subrtova finished in 1min 29.72 sec, beating second-placed Millie Knight of Britain and her guide Brett Wild by 0.86 sec.

Farkasova hailed her victory as "great, amazing", adding: "Hopefully we can inspire through our achievements and (show) others to strive and do their best."

READ: USA women beat Canada to end 20-year Olympic gold drought

It was the Slovakian&39;s sixth Paralympic gold in vision impaired skiing. Belgium&39;s Eleonor Sana took the bronze medal, finishing the course in 1min 31.60 sec.

In the biathlon - which combines skiing and shooting - the USA took gold and silver in the women&39;s sit-ski, with Kendall Gretcsch coming first and Oskana Masters second.

American Daniel Cnossen, a former US Navy Seal, took gold in the men&39;s sit-ski.

The USA has the biggest team at the Winter Paralympics with 69 athletes.

Gretsch said her victory was "pretty unexpected".

"It&39;s my first Paralympics, first race, so it&39;s just a great way to kick off the week and hopefully (there&39;s) more to come," she said.

READ: Wilson&39;s Winter Olympics dream is over

There were also victories for France - with Marie Bochet taking gold in the women&39;s standing downhill skiing - and Germany, with skier Anna Schaffelhuber winning in the women&39;s sitting.

The Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics were officially opened on Friday night with a glittering ceremony, that included fireworks and light shows.

North Korea took centre stage at the ceremony.

Pyongyang is sending its first ever athletes, two cross-country skiers, to take part in a Winter Paralympics, the last stage of rapprochement with the South that began at last month&39;s Winter Olympics.