Canada’s Para-Nordic Squad Celebrates Double Silver Medal Opening to IPC World Cup Season at 2018 Paralympic Venue
Cross Country Canada —Brittany Hudak and Mark Arendz both finish second in sprint standing events, Emily Weekes debuts with a fourth-place finish—
PYEONGCHANG, Kor—Canada’s para-nordic athletes blasted into the 2016 IPC World Cup season with a double silver-medal performance at the Paralympic venue in Pyeongchang, Korea.
Coming off a stellar rookie season on the IPC World Cup where she finished first overall, the 22-year-old Hudak won the race for the silver medal in the women’s standing classic-sprint race on Thursday in Korea.
“I am really happy with my overall performance today”, said Hudak, who won two gold, three silver and two bronze medals in 2015. “I really tried to focus on skiing with efficient technique and with good skis on my feet. I’m super pleased that I felt strong in the final, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the week here in Korea.”
Russia’s Ekaterina Rumyantseva stormed away from the pack in the final heat, which features six athletes racing head-to-head, to win the gold. Japan’s Yurika Abe snagged the bronze medal.
Canada’s 24-year-old newcomer to the IPC World Cup circuit, Emily Weekes, got her cross-country skiing career off to a solid start with a fourth-place finish in the women’s sprint race.
“I was very happy with the outcome and it nice to see that all the hard classic skiing work during the pre-season is paying off against top competitors,” said Weeks. “Overall it was a great start to the international season.”
Weekes, of North Vancouver, was late to the cross-country skiing party. Her first career sporting goal was wrestling until a training accident in 2009 left her with nerve damage to her right arm. Following a brief stint in triathlon, Weekes found her passion on the skinny skis, and is now focused on achieving her Paralympic dream at the 2018 Games.
“My goal for wrestling was to compete at the Olympics in 2016. And so now to have a second chance, even though it’s not able-bodied and it’s not wrestling,” she said during a pre-season training camp. “It’s a lot of catch up, but it’s really exciting.”
Meanwhile, Mark Arendz, got his season off to a rock solid start. The 25-year-old biathlon specialist matched stride-for-stride with the world’s best cross-country skiers where he finished second in the sprint final.
“It was a great start to the year. For a first race, there were a few little things that I still need to work on, but overall I’m happy with the performance,” said Arendz. “I worked hard on my classic skiing in training so it is rewarding to see it come together. To be near the front of a very competitive fields is very satisfying.”
Arendz finished behind his top rival from Russia, Vladislav Lekomtsev, who skied to the top of the podium. Japan’s Yoshihiro Nitta four seconds behind Arendz in third.
Arendz is a two-time Paralympian and won a silver and bronze medal at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.
“It is great to be able to get a test of the next Paralympic Games venue. The courses will change slightly from what we are racing this week, but they are very good,” added Arendz. “There will be some challenging ascents, and courses that require you to push continuously.”
The IPC World Cup continues in Pyeongchang on Friday with the middle distance cross-country ski races.
CCC is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 60,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, and Mackenzie Investments – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2Ten, CCC develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on CCC, please visit us at www.cccski.com.
Complete IPC World Cup Results: www.paralympic.org
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