New Zealand snowboarder Carl Murphy pushed reigning world champion Matti Suur-Hamari of Finland all the way but was eventually beaten in their snowboard cross quarterfinal at the Paralympic Winter Games in South Korea.
Fourth at the 2014 Games in South Korea, Wanaka-based Murphy went into the match-up in Pyeongchang on Monday as the underdog against the rider who claimed gold in the event at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships.
That favouritism for the Finnish athlete looked fair in the early going as Suur-Hamari hit the front but Murphy gradually began to make ground and late in the race was set to pull off an upset as he snuck up the inside to take the lead.
However, Suur-Hamari showed all his class in the tight battle, forcing his way back in front in the final few corners before crossing the line narrowly in front.
Born with a lower leg deficiency and competing in Sport Class SB LL, Murphy went into the competition ranked seventh in the men’s snowboard cross.
He is also competing in the men’s banked slalom, where he is ranked ninth.