Biathlon, cross-country to be contested in PyeongChangThe Asia Cup will get underway on Thursday (28 January) as athletes get the chance to experience the venue for the next Paralympic Winter Games. 27 Jan 2016
More than 40 athletes from six countries will ski the trails of the Alpensia Biathlon and Cross-Country Ski Centre in PyeongChang, South Korea, for the first time on Thursday (28 January).
Some of the world’s top skiers have made the journey to the venue of the next Paralympic Winter Games to race in the IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing Asia Cup.
Amongst them is Russia’s Rushan Minnegulov, who made a great start to 2015-16 with a double win in the men’s standing cross-country skiing at the opening World Cup at home in Tyumen.
His teammate Aleksandr Pronkov, 18-year-old middle distance cross-country standing Paralympic champion, will also compete against the experienced Japanese duo of Yoshihiro Nitta and Keichii Sato.
Russia’s middle distance biathlon standing world champion Vladislav Lekomtsev will face Canada’s Paralympic bronze medallist Mark Arendz.
In the men’s biathlon sitting, an exciting clash is expected between Russia’s six-time Paralympic gold medallist Roman Petushkov and the USA’s Andrew Soule.
Soule is on an upward trajectory, having claimed a series of podium finishes at the 2015 World Championships to become the most successful US skier in the history of the competition.
He already picked up a top-three finish in pursuit in Tyumen and will compete against Petushkov in the sprint and middle distance.
Canada’s Chris Klebl will also compete in the cross-country on his road to successfully defending his middle distance Paralympic title.
In the men’s visually impaired biathlon and cross-country, home athlete Bogue Choi is the skier expected to make an impact with guide Jeongryun Seo.
On the women’s side, Canada’s Brittany Hudak is on the up in the standing classification. The 22-year-old claimed two cross-country and one biathlon podium in Tyumen to get her season underway.
Once again the Russians will prove tough competition, especially in cross-country, as long distance world champion Ekaterina Rumyantseva takes to the snow.
In the biathlon, compatriot Natalia Bratiuk, double Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games bronze medallist, is just 18 years old and going from strength to strength.
In the women’s sitting, Russia’s Svetlana Konovalova is a Paralympic champion from the long distance biathlon. She will get the chance to test herself in the sprint and middle distance in the coming days.
Oksana Masters, currently training to get on US cycling team for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, has a pedigree of her own in the middle distance cross-country sitting as a Paralympic and Worlds silver medallist.
Competition begins in PyeongChang on Thursday with cross-country sprint. There will then be two more days of cross-country competition before biathlon on 31 January and 1 February.
Results will be available at IPC Nordic Skiing’s website.