Nordic ski season to reach climax in Sapporo

Skiers will race to secure cross-country and biathlon World Cup titles in Japan. 17 Mar 2017
Anja Wicker competes at the Para Nordic skiing World Cup in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Anja Wicker competes at the Para Nordic skiing World Cup in PyeongChang, South Korea.

ⒸPOCOG/Ivo Gonzalez

The Para Nordic skiing season will reach an exciting conclusion from Saturday (18 March) as the final World Cup cross-country skiing and biathlon races take place in Sapooro, Japan.

A maximum of 200 points are on offer in both sports in the men’s and women’s sitting, standing and visually impaired. Skiers will take to the trails for the middle and short distance cross-country, and middle distance and sprint biathlon.

The overall men’s and women’s World Cup winners will also be decided, as well as for the nations.

Live results will be available at World Para Nordic Skiing’s website

Just 30 points separate Ukraine’s short distance world champion Oksana Shyshkova and Austria’s Carina Edlinger at the top of the women’s cross-country visually impaired.

Edlinger, 18, will be hoping to crown a perfect season where she won two titles on her World Championships debut with brother guide Julian Josef.

Shyshkova with guide Volodymyr Ivanov, and Edlinger will take the points battle in the women’s overall cross-country rankings to Ukraine’s standing skier Oleksandra Kononova.

Multiple world and Paralympic champion Kononova is also close to securing the women’s biathlon standing title but could still be caught by teammate Liudmyla Liashenko.

The USA’s triple world champion Oksana Masters leads the women’s cross-country sitting rankings ahead of Germany’s Andrea Eskau.

Eskau was prevented from retaining her three world titles in Finsterau, Germany, in February, by Masters. But a slip-up by Masters in Sapporo could drop her to second behind the German.

Eskau’s teammate Anja Wicker will also compete in a bid to secure the biathlon sitting title.

With Ukraine’s sprint world champion Ihor Reptyukh riding high at the top of the men’s cross-country standing World Cup, the competition for points lower down the leaderboard will be fierce.

Finland’s Ikka Tuomisto is going for his highest ever rankings finish. But he currently sits third behind Reptyukh’s compatriot Grygorii Vovchynskyi, who is also aiming for his best result.

France’s Benjamin Daviet will be crowned the men’s biathlon standing winner having cemented his lead at the World Cup and PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games Test Event earlier this week.

Reptyukh sits fourth and will attempt another top three finish over second and third place sitters, Norway’s Nils Erik Ulset and Canada’s Mark Arendz, respectively.

In the men’s cross-country sitting, Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi is looking for the perfect end to the season in which he won three world titles.

He is the points leader, but South Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin has found form at the World Cup level and is in reach of the title.

Norway’s Trygve Steiner Larsen is third and will aim to get between Yarovyi and Sin.

In biathlon, Germany’s new double world champion Martin Fleig leads Ukraine’s Taras Rad by a slim 50 points.

Three of the top four men’s biathlon visually impaired skiers have made the journey to Sapporo, any one of whom could grab the title.

Just 12 points separate Ukrainian teammates Anatolii Kovalevskyi with guide Oleksandr Mukshyn, and Iurii Utkin and guide Ruslan Perekhoda. Iaroslav Reshetynskyi and guide Artur Gergardt is also in with a chance for Ukraine.

The men’s overall cross-country is led by Reptyukh who leads Yarovyi and Sin, both of whom have a chance of claiming the title. Daviet tops the biathlon with a 110 point lead over Fleig and Rad.

The middle distance cross-country freestyle will open competition on Saturday ahead of the short distance on Sunday (19 March). The final biathlon races of the season will then take place on 21-22 March.