PYEONGCHANG, Kor.—To say Mark Arendz is on a roll would be an understatement.
The Hartsville, P.E.I. resident backed up his five-medal haul at the recent World Championships by rattling off his third straight podium performance at the Para-Nordic Test Event in PyeongChang on Tuesday. Arendz toughed out a silver medal victory under brutal conditions in the men’s 15-kilometre standing race with a time of 53:49.8.
“Today proved to be quite a slog with heavy snow flakes making an already slow course slower in the first two laps,” said Arendz. “I dug myself a large hole by missing the first shot. That forced me to work much harder for the remainder of the race, trying to make up for that early mistake. I tried to stay consistent on the course, and bit-by-bit I made up some time to eventually take second.”
Grinding it out on the skinny skis, the 26-year-old Arendz was perfect in shooting for his final three bouts on the range.
While Arendz picked up spots on the field to get on the podium, Benjamin Daviet of France, was out of reach setting the time to beat at 52:07.7 (0+2+0+1). Grygorii Vovchynskyi missed one in his final round of shooting, but held on for the bronze medal with a time of 54:50.0.
Having medalled in all distances in both biathlon and cross-country skiing, Arendz will have good vibes over the next year as he looks to compete in his third Paralympics and add to the two medals around his neck from the Sochi Games.
“Leaving a venue where you have had success definitely makes it easier to return,” added Arendz. “It does give you the confidence that you can succeed again, and confirms you have the attributes that will be required to succeed at a particular venue.”
Derek Zaplotinsky, of Smokey Lake, Alta., finished 12th in the men’s 15-kilometre sit-skiing race after missing three shots (1+0+1+1), clocking a time of 1:00:02.8.
Germany’s Martin Fleig won the classification with a time of 52:22.8.
Brittany Hudak, of Prince Albert, Sask., had her best race in the women’s 12.5-kilometre standing classification. The 23 year old shot clean to finish fourth with a time of 50:54.9 in the most difficult biathlon race discipline.
The Ukraine women swept the podium. Oleksandra Kononova won the race with a time of 46:12.0 (2+0+1+0). Liudmyla Liashenko was second at 47:19.5 (1+1+0+1). Iryna Bui held on to complete the sweep despite missing one in her final shooting, clocking a time of 49:36.1.
source: Cross Country Canada / Ski de fond Canada