Norfolk paralympian prevented from competing after testing positive for Covid

Steve Arnold. Picture: Roger Keller / Help for Heroes

Steve Arnold, a Nordic skier from King's Lynn - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk athlete's Paralympic debut is hanging in the balance after testing positive for Covid.

Steve Arnold, a Nordic Skier from King’s Lynn, was set to compete in the cross-country sprint, the biathlon, the 10km cross-country skiing and the 4x2.5km relay.

He tested positive in one of his pre-departure tests but recovered in time to test negative and fly to China on Tuesday.

Arnold, 42, then tested positive after landing in the country, throwing his Paralympic participation back into doubt.

His positive result meant he had to undertake a series of additional confirmatory tests, with organisers believing that his result is likely to be the outcome of his previous infection.

Arnold was due to compete in the cross-country sprint event on Wednesday (March 9) but was unable to take the start line because of the confusion surrounding his positive result.

The same applied for the 12.5km biathlon on Friday (March 11), with Arnold now in the last-chance saloon ahead of the 10km cross-country skiing event on Saturday (March 12) and the 4x2.5km relay on Sunday (March 13).

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A ParalympicsGB statement said: “ParalympicsGB and Beijing 2022 organisers are in constant contact and the ParalympicsGB welfare team, assisted by local medical and language support, are supporting Steve while tests are ongoing. 

“As always, ParalympicsGB’s top priority is the health and welfare of its athletes which is why the decision for Steve to travel to the Games was made following extensive discussions between the athlete, GB Snowsport and ParalympicsGB in conjunction with medical experts based in the UK and in Beijing.

“The decision to travel considered all implications while supporting Steve’s strong desire to participate at the Games. ParalympicsGB continues to support Steve and his ambitions to compete in his remaining events.”

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