Austria’s Carina Edlinger rounded off a sensational cross-country skiing season on Sunday (19 March), winning the women’s visually impaired World Cup title with victory in the short distance classic in Sapporo, Japan.
Skiing with her guide brother Julian Josef, new double world champion Edlinger (7:53.9) overcame Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova (8:25.5), guided by Volodymyr Ivanov, over 2.5km.
The win, her fourth over four editions, handed her the World Cup crown in her debut season at the age of 18.
Edlinger finished 10 points clear of Shyshkova in the standings and will be a face to watch at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in under one year.
Ukraine's Natalia Rubanovska (8:49.6) finished third in Sunday’s race with guide Lada Nesterenko.
The overall women’s cross-country skiing World Cup, which gathers together points from the sitting, standing and visually impaired, was won by Ukrainian standing skier Oleksandra Kononova on Saturday (18 March). With her result from Sunday Edlinger cemented second place, once again ahead of Shyshkova in third.
The men’s title was claimed by Ukraine’s multiple world champion sit-skier Maksym Yarovyi (14:12.4) after his short distance race win..
Canada’s middle distance Paralympic title holder Chris Klebl (14:24.9) was second followed by Germany’s Martin Fleig (14:30.7).
Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh finished second behind Yarovyi in the men’s World Cup despite finishing off the podium in the men’s short distance standing. South Korean sit-skier Eui Hyun Sin was third in the rankings.
Coming into Sunday’s race Yarovyi had already etched his name onto the men’s sitting trophy ahead of Sin in second. Norway’s Tyrgve Steiner Larsen was third in the points.
With the World Cup winners also decided in the other classifications 24 hours previously, athletes were fighting for second and third place on the leaderboard.
France’s world champion Benjamin Daviet (12:19.7) was the victor in the men’s standing race. Japan’s Yoshihiro Nitta (12:54.3) gave the home fans a much anticipated podium finish in second. Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynskyi (13:04.3) was third.
Reptyukh, Vovchynskyi and Finland’s Ilkka Tuomisto made up the final World Cup top three.
Women’s and women’s standing World Cup winner Kononova (7:52.4) closed her season with the race victory.
Sweden’s Helene Ripa (8:18.12) reached her first podium this year in second. Kononova’s teammate Iuliia Batenkova (8:18.5) was third.
Kononova, compatriot Liudmyla Liashenko and Batenkova were the World Cup top three.
Germany’s multiple Worlds medallist Andrea Eskau (8:07.8) beat the USA’s World Cup title winner Oksana Masters (8:20.2) in the women’s sitting. Eskau’s teammate Anja Wicker (8:57.1) completed the podium.
The trio occupied the same places in the World Cup standings.
Rounding off the action in Sapporo on Sunday was the USA’s Jacob Adicoff and guide Sawyer Kesselheim in the men’s visually impaired.
Adicoff (13:00.9) is another impressive youngster to have emerged this season, picking up his first race wins. The 21-year-old skied to his third triumph ahead of Ukraine’s Iurii Utkin (13:48.2), guided by Ruslan Perekhoda. Iaroslav Reshetynskyi (13:51.3) and guide Artur Gergardt was third.
Sweden’s Zebastian Modin took home the World Cup title with guide Johannes Andersson. France’s Thomas Clarion was second on points with guide Antoine Bollet. Utkin completed the top three.
Full results and rankings are available at World Para Nordic Skiing’s website.
The biathlon World Cup deciders will take over in Sapporo from Tuesday (21 March) with the middle distance.