Brian McKeever bounces back in Vuokatti13.12.2018
Canadian upgrades silver to gold on day two of World Cup
Brian McKeever continued his unbeaten run in the vision impaired cross-country short race on the second day of competition (13 December) at the Nordic skiing World Cup in Vuokatti, Finland. The Canadian took revenge on Sweden’s Zebastian Modin for Wednesday’s middle distance defeat to claim gold.
Modin and guide Jerry Ahrlin had to settle for second after their opening day win, while Ukraine’s Oleksandr Kazik and guide Sergiy Kucheryaviy took the bronze.
Thirteen-time Paralympic champion McKeever – who along with guide Graham Nishikawa has never lost a 5km race - is satisfied with his World Cup so far.
"For this time of year I think the form is OK. It's hard to judge with jet lag but it's getting better each day which I think that is important. Today was a more clear idea of what we've been doing so I'm happy with that," he said.
The tables were also turned in the women's vision impaired race, where Ukraine's Oksana Shyshkova and guide Vitaliy Kazakov overcame Wednesday's victor Austrian Carina Edlinger with new guide Florian Seiwald. Third place went to Germany's Leonie Walter and guide Frank Wagner.
Norway’s Vilde Nilsen made it two wins in two days in the women's standing short race. She triumphed in the 7.5km on Wednesday and was determined to keep her place at the top of the standings.
"It feels very good. I am very happy about the first place," said Nilsen. "Yesterday I was almost shocked by the win. This morning I felt very nervous because I knew I was the leader in the World Cup so I wanted to stay in the same position and I did it today and I am very happy with that."
Nilsen’s compatriot Birgit Skarstein and USA's Daniel Cnossen continued to dominate in the sitting races. Cnossen came home 13 seconds ahead of Brazilian youngster Cristian Ribera who added silver to his bronze from the 7.5km. South Korea’s Paralympic champion Eui Hyun Shin was third.
"I was feeling a little tired (this morning) because we haven't been doing a lot of racing yet," said Cnossen. "To do race after race like we do at the World Cup it takes some conditioning so I'm looking forward to the rest day and the start of the biathlon races on Sunday."
Skarstein came home ahead of USA's Kendall Gretsch and Germany's Andrea Eskau to collect two wins from two.
"I didn't think that would be possible but it was a dream and it actually came true today and that's really, really cool," said a delighted Skarstein. She is hoping that she can complete the treble in the cross-country sprint on Sunday.
"That's going to be an exciting day. Sprint is sprint so everything can happen."
In the men's standing France's double Paralympic biathlon champion Benjamin Daviet started his first race of the season and took the win by six seconds with an impressive display. Poland's Witold Skupien and Ukraine's Grygorii Vovchynskyi completed the podium.
Friday is a rest day for athletes before the action resumes on Saturday (15 December) with the first biathlon races of the season.
Live results are available on World Para Nordic Skiing’s website.