By Cross Country Canada
Canada’s mixed relay team joined forces to win the nation’s seventh medal at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Prince George, B.C after finishing second on Saturday in the mixed relay.
Paralympic teammates Collin Cameron (Sudbury, Ont.), Emily Young (North Vancouver), Natalie Wilkie (Salmon Arm, B.C.), and Mark Arendz (Springton, P.E.I.) combined to post a silver-medal time of 27:46.6 in the 4x2.5-kilometre relay.
“This is a great performance by our team,” said Cameron, who skied the opening leg. “I just wanted to hang on to Yoshihiro Nitta from Japan as long as I could and hand it off to Emily to keep it going for us.”
Battling a head cold all week, the 30-year-old Cameron has already made two trips to the world championship podium. The sit-skier won a silver in the biathlon middle distance, and his first-ever gold in the cross-country skiing sprint race.
Emily Young dug deep to keep the Canadians in podium position while skiing the second leg before handing off to eight-time Paralympic medallist, Mark Arendz.
Powering his way up and down the rolling terrain at the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club, the 28-year-old moved the Canadians up one spot before handing off to 18-year-old Natalie Wilkie in the anchor leg.
“There were a lot of nerves and silliness going on before the race, but we told each other to just enjoy it, stay relaxed and do our best,” said Arendz. “We get excited for each other in the relay. Seeing Collin so close at the front gave us extra motivation. We each did our part today, and in the end, we are happy with the silver.”
The same Canadian team, with the exception of Collin Cameron, also won a silver in the mixed relay to cap off a 16-medal performance at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. Chris Klebl was part of that team for the Canucks.
The team from Ukraine won the gold with a time of 27:19.2. The Germans rounded out the podium in third at 28:29.3.
Canada also fielded an all-men’s team for the 4x2.5-kilometre open relay on Saturday where Brian McKeever (Canmore, Alta.) and his guide Graham Nishikawa (Whitehorse) made their debut in Prince George.
The 17-time Paralympic medallist teamed up with Kyle Barber (Lively, Ont.) and teenager Ethan Hess (Pemberton, B.C.) to finish eighth at 28:47.4. Barber skied both the second and fourth legs.
Norway won the open relay with a time of 24:48.8. France was second at 25:00.8, while Ukraine teamed up to finish third at 25:08.2.
The World Para Nordic Skiing Championships wrap up on Sunday in Prince George, B.C. with the cross-country ski distance races.
Complete World Para Nordic Skiing Championship Results: https://bit.ly/2X7UbmY