Yoshihiro Nitta scored his first World Cup victory in nearly five years, while Oleksandra Kononova and Oksana Masters continued their winning campaigns on the final day of the World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup on Wednesday (15 March) in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The concluding day of competition featured middle distance races, with Japan’s Nitta (26:25.8) taking the men’s standing ahead of Ukrainian overall leaders Ihor Reptyukh (26:49.5) and Grygorii Vovchynskyi (27:00.0), ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively. It was Nitta’s first World Cup win since 2012, and the victory sealed a successful showing in PyeongChang after taking silver in the sprint two days earlier.
Ukraine did close the World Cup and PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games Test Event with a victory from Kononova (23:17.5) in the women’s standing. The world champion completed an unbeaten run in South Korea, collecting more points to distance herself at the top of the overall standings. Liudmyla Liashenko (23:50.2) beat Ukrainian compatriot Iuliia Batenkova (24:28.4) into third to rank No. 2 in the rankings by just two points.
US world champion and overall World Cup leader Oksana Masters (16:11.6) swept all women’s cross-country sitting races with her victory.
After missing the podium twice, Belarus’ Liudmila Vauchok (16:48.1) finally scored a top three finish at the competition with second place, beating Germany’s Worlds silver medallist Andrea Eskau (16:52.5) by four seconds.
The USA found more delight with Daniel Cnossen (21:34.7) and Worlds bronze medallist Andrew Soule (21:48.5) going one-two in the men’s sitting. It was Cnossen’s first World Cup victory of the season. South Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin (22:20.8) gave the host nation a trio of podium finishes at the Test Event with third place and holding onto No. 2 in the overall leaderboard.
The World Cup standings remain tight in the men’s visually impaired. But France’s Worlds silver medallist Thomas Clarion’s (27:59.7) victory on Wednesday, with guide Antoine Bollet, gave him a three-point lead at the top of the World Cup standings. Belarus’ Yury Holub and guide Dzmitry Budzilovich (28:16.5), who are ranked No. 3, took second. The USA’s Jacob Adicoff and guide Sawyer Kesselheim (28:32.8) completed the podium.
Belarus managed to top the podium however in the women’s visually impaired. Sviatlana Sakhanenka and guide Nafranovich Iryna (23:56.2) won their second race at the World Cup. They defeated Austria’s Carina Edlinger and guide Julian Josef Edlinger (24:23.1), who are just 30 points behind Ukrainian leader and third-place finishers Oksana Shyshkova and guide Volodymyr Ivanov (25:59.0).
The World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup Finals get underway in Saporro, Japan, on Saturday (18 March).
Complete and live results, as well as World Cup rankings, are available at World Para Nordic Skiing’s website: https://www.worldparanordicskiing.org
Pictures are available online.