Australian Sports Commission (ASC) chief executive Kate Palmer has congratulated the Australian team on its best performance at a Winter Paralympic Games in 16 years.

Completing the Games with one gold and three bronze medals, Australia finished 15th on the medal table between Norway (14th) and Finland (16th) – its best result since the 2002 Salt Lake City Games when alpine skier Michael Milton (four gold) and Bart Bunting (two gold and a silver) were stars.

“This is an absolutely brilliant result given a small team of 15 Australian athletes, including three sighted guides. This team has been an inspiration, competing in the biggest winter Paralympic Games in history,” Palmer said.

“International sporting competition is getting tougher and so it is a wonderful reward for the team to finish with four medals, including Australia’s first gold medal since 2002, to snowboarder Simon Patmore.”

“Alpine skier Melissa Perrine showed persistence to claim her first medals, two bronze, at her third Games appearance. It was fitting she was able to lead the Australian team at the closing ceremony.”

“More broadly, the camaraderie, athleticism and dedication the Australian team has shown in competing and supporting each other has been remarkable. I had the enormous privilege of seeing this first hand in PyeongChang and it’s something I will remember forever.”

“Credit must go to all the athletes, Chef de Mission Nick Dean and the staff at the Australian Paralympic Committee for performing so well and representing our country with such distinction. The support from family and friends for the athletes has been critical to their success and it was wonderful to see so many of them in the stands cheering on the Australian team.”

Australia’s results were achieved despite a set-back when co-captain Joany Badenhorst was unable to compete due to injury. Badenhorst, the world’s top-ranked para snowboard cross athlete, had to withdraw after dislocating her left knee cap and tearing ligaments in training.

The future of the team is also promising with vision impaired Para-alpine skiers Patrick Jensen and Shaun Pianta along with sit-skier Sam Tait rated as stars of the future. It’s also likely snowboarders Badenhorst, Patmore, Sean Pollard and Ben Tudhope will still be competing for medals at Beijing 2022.