OSTERSUND, Sweden – Canadian Para nordic skiers won seven medals, including three on Sunday, to open the 2023 world championships.
Natalie Wilkie of Salmon Arm, B.C., Brittany Hudak of Prince Albert, Sask., and Collin Cameron of Bracebridge, Ont., won two medals each.
In the women’s standing races, Wilkie and Hudak were 1-2 in the women’s biathlon 7.5 kilometre clocking 22.43.5 and 23:14.2. Hudak was 10-for-10 in the shooting range while Wilkie missed once.
In Sunday’s 18 kilometre cross country skiing event, Wilkie took the silver and Hudak the bronze. Norway’s Vilde Nilsen thwarted a second Canuck 1-2 winning in 56:22.9, more than a minute ahead of Wilkie.
“A great birthday present,’’ said Wilkie, who turned 22 Saturday. It was also a first career world title for the three-time Paralympic Games champion.
‘’I woke up hoping for a podium and taking the gold medal was a special way to celebrate. The 18 kilometre was definitely long, it was all about consistency and not going out too hard. I think we nailed it.”
Hudak says the courses are challenging for the racers.
“There are lots of steady uphills and fun downhills that have corners you want to be pushing around carrying speed,’’ said the three-time Paralympic medallist. ‘’I like the courses that make you think about tactics and racing smart.”
Cameron took the gold in the men’s sitting 7.5 kilometre biathlon on Saturday and silver in the 18 kilometre cross country event. On Sunday he woke up with a cold and considered skipping the race.
“It was a tough one today,” said Cameron, a six-time Paralympic Games medallist. “I opted to just go for the race and see what happens. I’m really happy with how I was able to manage my energy.”
Mark Arendz of Hartsville, P.E.I., collected a 10th career World Championship biathlon podium, with silver in the men’s standing competition. The 32-year-old finished just three seconds off Germany’s Marco Meier’s gold medal pace with a time of 20:03.1.
“It was a very close finish,’’ said Arendz, a 12-time Games medallist. ‘’The speed I had on the final lap made it possible to challenge for the title despite some trouble on the range. That speed gives me the confidence going forward.”
Christina Picton of Fonthill, Ont. was fourth in both women’s sitting races while Derek Zaplotinsky of Smoky Lake, Alta. was flawless in the shooting range and placed sixth in the men’s sitting biathlon on Saturday.
With files from Nordiq Canada
Para alpine world championships delayed
Saturday’s downhill and Sunday’s Super G were both postponed due to weather at the Para Alpine Skiing World Championships in Espot, Spain.
Canada has a four-member team with Frédérique Turgeon of Candiac, Que., Alexis Guimond of Gatineau, Que., Brian Rowland of Merrickville, Ont., and Kurt Oatway of Calgary.
For full results visit the official FIS website HERE.