Collin Cameron Fights for Fifth in Challenging Nordic Sit-Ski Rac
Cross Country Canada – PYEONGCHANG, Kor.—Fresh off a historic bronze-medal biathlon performance, Canada’s Collin Cameron was charging for the podium once again – this time coming up just short finishing fifth in a 15-kilometre sit-ski race – at the Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea.
The Paralympic rookie from Sudbury, Ont. battled through warm weather and soft snow conditions at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre to post a time of 43:40.9 seconds in the middle distance cross-country ski event.
“It was really soft out there, but the skis were still fast. The skis have been awesome both days – the guys are working their butts off back in the wax room,” said the 29-year-old Cameron.
“The goal today was to just start steady and be comfortable, to get rid of the bugs from yesterday’s race because I was pretty tight.”
The powerful Canuck grinded his way up and down the relentless hills that lead the top sit-ski athletes on the planet in and out of the stadium filled with thousands of screaming fans cheering the world’s best around the three-kilometre loop they are forced to complete five times.
“I was able to loosen up as I went along, which allowed me to dig a little deeper today,” said Cameron, who yesterday became the first Canadian male ever to win a Paralympic medal in the biathlon sit-skiing classification.
“It’s tough to go from biathlon to this event. It is a totally different mindset for pacing, a totally different game. “I wasn’t event thinking about (winning a medal yesterday) I just wanted to build off it and take that momentum with me the rest of the week. Today was a different day and I’m happy with how I was able to perform.”
The Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi won the grueling Nordic challenge with a time of 41:37.0. Daniel Cnossen, of the United States, backed up his golden biathlon triumph on opening day, with a silver medal on Sunday, clocking-in at 42:20.7. Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin brought the hometown crowd to its feet with a bronze-medal performance, stopping the clock at 42:28.9.
Two other Canadians battled into the top-10. Chris Klebl, of Canmore, Alta., was eighth at 43:54.0. Derek Zaplotinsky, of Smokey Lake, Alta., chalked up his second ninth-place finish in as many days with a time of 44:03.7.
Quebec City’s Sebastien Fortier finished 18th (46:26.0); teenager Ethan Hess, of Pemberton, B.C., placed 24th (52:14.6); and Yves Bourque, of Becancour, Que., was 25th (52:31.7).
Canada also had one entry in the women’s 12-kilometre sit-ski event. Competing in her first major international cross-country ski race, Paralympic wheelchair basketball star Cindy Ouellet from Quebec City finished 18th with a time of 49:24.7.
“It was really hard and soft,” said Ouellet. “This is my first race over five kilometres and it was tough. Basketball is all stop and go, but endurance is much different. I just need more races.”
Kendall Gretsch, of the United States, was crowned Paralympic champion in the women’s race, shattering the field with a time of 38:15.9.
The world’s best Paralympic standing and visually impaired athletes, including Canada’s Brian McKeever, Mark Arendz, Emily Young and Brittany Hudak, will be on the start line Monday for a 15- and 20-kilometre cross-country skate-ski race.
Complete Cross-Country Sit Skiing Results: http://bit.ly/2DiMW0q
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, Mackenzie Investments, Swix and Lanctôt Sports– 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.
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