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Snow Conditions a Challenge for Skiers in Khanty Mansiysk

The third day of the 2011 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Championships in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, provided challenging snow conditions for the athletes in the long distance Cross-Country Skiing races.

In fairly wet snow, Canada’s Brian McKeever secured his second gold medal of the Championships together with his new guide Erik Carleton in the men’s visually impaired race. McKeever finished 44 seconds ahead of Nikolay Polukhin (RUS) followed by Alexey Toropov (RUS) who was more than 5 minutes behind the leader.

Russian athlete Kirill Mikhaylov became the unreserved leader in the men’s standing competition. He finished the 20km in 53:53, more than 2 minutes ahead of second place Vegard Dahle from Norway. The bronze medal went to Ilkka Tuomisto of Finland.

After Paralympic gold medalist Anna Burmistrova of Russia pulled out of the 15km women’s standing race due to illness, Ukraine’s Oleksandar Kononova took the chance to win the gold medal ahead of her compatriot Iuliia Batenkova. Katarzyna Rogowiec (POL) who had already won one gold and one silver medal completed her set of medals at these Championships by finishing third.

Russian athletes however impressed their home crowd by swooping all medals in the women’s visually impaired category. Elena Remizova became the World Champion on this distance finishing ahead of Mikhalina Lysova and Tatyana Iljuchenko.

According to Irina Gromova, Russian national team head coach, today’s results were influenced by the weather conditions, since the snow was rather wet. Gromova said: “Vladimir Kononov started, but unfortunately failed to finish, because the weather was very difficult for one-armed athletes. Participating without the ski poles in such weather was extremely difficult”.

Fans of Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing are now also able to watch the races from Khanty Mansiysk as videos on demand on the IPC’s internet TV channel, www.ParalympicSport.TV.