Australian flagbearer Joany Badenhorst has had her Winter Paralympics cut short after a training accident. (AP: Ng Han Guan)
Australian co-captain Joany Badenhorst has suffered a horrible case of deja vu, ruled out at a second consecutive Winter Paralympics after a training crash.
The opening ceremony flagbearer injured her knee after falling heavily on Saturday, two days before she was to compete in the snowboard cross event in PyeongChang.
Co-captain Badenhorst was one of Australia’s best hopes to break a 16-year gold medal drought after reaching the World Cup podium 22 times since Sochi 2014.
She failed to compete in Sochi after a crash on her final training run left her with a broken patella, collapsed hip and dislocated knee.
“Identical circumstances to Sochi where in a training run prior to competition she’s had an injury to her knee,” said Australian team boss Nick Dean.
“The difference this time, of course, is she’s at the top of her game.
“She’s right up there in the best in the world and to be brutally frank, there’s medal opportunities gone.
“It’s an injury which is severe enough to mean she has no chance of competing. It was just a freak accident.
“There was just a nano-second in it between hurting herself and performing a wonderful training run.”
Australian Para-Snowboarder Joany Badenhorst was seen as a gold medal hope, but injury has ruled her out of Pyeongchang. (AAP / Australian Paralympic Committee: Jeff Crow, file photo)
The 23-year-old came into the Games with two recent World Cup titles.
In the lead-up to competition, Badenhorst said it was not up to her to decide if she would take a safety-first attitude to her training runs.
“I’m going to stick to what we’ve been doing this entire season and when it comes to how much I put into a training run, I look to my coach,” she said on March 8.
“If he tells me to go for it, I’ll go for it. If he tells me to hold a little bit in, I’ll keep it in.”
Badenhorst, who was also to contest the banked slalom, became the first Australian woman to carry the flag at a Winter Paralympics.
Born in South Africa, she lost her leg 13 years ago in a farming accident.