Canada hits 10-medal mark at Para nordic World Cup Final

Four medals on Sunday
Cameron action 2024

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C., Collin Cameron of Bracebridge, Ont., highlighted a four-medal day for Canada in the distance races Sunday with silver to conclude the Para nordic World Cup Final.

Derek Zaplotinsky of Smoky Lake, Alta., Natalie Wilkie of Salmon Arm, B.C., and Christina Picton of Fonthill, Ont., each added a bronze. Canada ends the competition with 10 medals (three gold, two silver and five bronze) for third overall at the 16-country meet.

In the men’s 18 kilometre sitting race, Giuseppe Romele of Italy won the gold in one hour and 01 minutes and 24.8 seconds. Cameron, the sprint victor on Saturday, followed in 1:02:12.7 and Zaplotinsky, the five kilometre winner Thursday, took third in 1:02:15.9.

‘’I just wanted to go out and have a solid race,’’ said Cameron, who ends his only World Cup appearance this season with a gold, silver and bronze. ‘’As we kept going I just felt better and better and it was exciting to move into second on the very last lap.’’

Picton, a member of the 2022 Paralympic team, was third in the women’s sitting race with Lyne-Marie Bilodeau of Sherbrooke, Que., in fourth. Anja Wicker of Germany was the winner.

‘’To get some hardware at the end of a race like that is a bonus,’’ said Picton, like Cameron, also out most of the season with illness. ‘’The conditions got sloppier so it was important for me to stick to my line and not fall on the sketchy areas.”

Temperatures soared above 20 degrees which had most of the racers down to their t-shirts during the race.

Wilkie marched to the podium for the third time this week in the women’s standing 20 kilometre race with her second bronze. Vilde Nilsen of Norway was the victor.  Wilkie was also third in the sprint and second in the five kilometre.

‘’For me today was more mentally tough,’’ said Wilkie. ‘’Every lap I just wanted to withdraw because my body wasn’t feeling good but I just kept telling myself to keep going. It was worth it in the end. I’m so happy I finished.’’

Emma Archibald of Fall River, N.S. was eighth.

The men’s standing 20 kilometre was won by Taiki Kawayoke of Japan. Mark Arendz of Hartsville, PEI, a double medallist this week, was fourth less than a minute from the podium.

Jesse Bachinsky of Pemberton, B.C., and his guide Levi Nadlersmith of Boissevain, Man., were seventh in the men’s visually impaired 20 km.

The overall season champions for cross country were also announced. Zaplotinsky, Archibald and Bilodeau all ranked third in their respective categories.

On Wednesday, Arendz was awarded the Crystal Globe as the overall season champion in the biathlon.