SHIPTON BELLINGER Nordic skier Steve Arnold can bounce back from his Covid catastrophe and thrive on the big Beijing stage, reckons teammate and six-time Paralympian Steve Thomas.

Arnold was one of five Nordic skiers selected for the Winter Paralympics but had his attendance thrown into doubt after testing positive for Covid-19 last weekend.

The 42-year-old was forced to withdraw from Saturday's sprint biathlon after retuning the positive result before departing for China.

But within just four days he made a miraculous recovery and has now landed in Beijing ahead of Friday’s upcoming sitting biathlon event.

Former sailor and ice hockey star Thomas, 45, is competing at his sixth Games as a Nordic skier and believes Arnold has what it takes banish his virus demons in the Chinese capital.

He said: "We’ve all dealt with Covid in different ways with in terms of family and stuff, and unfortunately he’s had to deal with it right now.

“But he’s a strong individual, he’s fun and the energy of the group and it will be great to have him back.

“We’ve got a group chat, while we also text message and WhatsApp. I knew he flew in late on Tuesday – I haven’t seen him or spoken to him since then but we’ll catch up later.

“He’s been through a couple of programmes himself – he knows the game but it’s obviously frustrating.

Arnold got the green light to fly to China on Tuesday and has now landed in Beijing for a short and sweet Olympic debut.

The military veteran suffered his injuries while serving in Afghanistan in 2011 and after initially competing as a para-cyclist, turned his attention to the gruelling world of Nordic skiing.

Arnold narrowly missed out on a place in the team at PyeongChang 2018 but secured his spot on the Beijing plane after a successful World Championships in Lillehammer earlier this year.

Ahead of finally flying to Beijing this week, Arnold posted on his official Twitter account: “Travelling out late due to Covid - not the start I wanted.

“It’s going to be a whistle-stop tour but can’t wait to get on that start line and give it my all.”

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