Another stunning day of action at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships saw two skiers crowned four-time world champions in Prince George, Canada. Benjamin Daviet and Oksana Masters took out the men’s standing and women’s sitting biathlon sprint to maintain their 100 per cent record at the event.
The sun beat down and it was the warmest day of the championships so far. A large group of school children added to the atmosphere making a lot of noise.
They were cheering for Canadian stars such as Mark Arendz in the men’s standing race, but it was always going to be a tough task with Daviet in such devastating form.
The top three competitors all shot cleanly which meant it can down to a ski race. And nobody is going faster right now than the ‘flying Frenchman’.
Daviet crossed the finish line an incredible 42 seconds ahead of the pack and immediately sprawled out on the snow exhausted.
“After four races, I started to feel a little tired. My legs were hurting. It will be really difficult at the end of the World Championships.”
Grygorii Vovchynskyi of Ukraine was second with Arendz giving the home fans a bronze to cheer.
The USA’s Oksana Masters was in disbelief after she sprinted to the finish line almost 20 seconds in front to win her fourth world title in four races at the
“I did not expect world championship titles in biathlon whatsoever. It’s just crazy four gold medals. It never gets boring. It’s just as nerve wracking as the first time.”
Masters struggled early in the race on the shooting range. She thought she was going to pay for the extra penalty lap she had to take considering her teammate Kendall Gretsch is in Masters’ mind the best shooter.
“After the first stage I had a misfire and I didn’t get to take that shot and I thought, ‘there it goes’ and then I just wanted to let it all out on the snow. It just goes to show biathlon is just crazy. It’s up and down and you never know where you really are until you cross the line.”
Gretsch finished second, while Germany’s Paralympic champion Andrea Eskau won bronze.
Teenage sensation Taras Rad of Ukraine showed the incredible strength and power he has on his skis and how quickly he can catch his breath and control his body allowing him to shoot perfectly on the range.
The 19-year-old won his second biathlon world title in Prince George, an upgrade on the 2017 Worlds where he had to settle for second.
Martin Fleig of Germany was thrilled to win silver, while USA’s Aaron Pike took the bronze.
Rad is one of the sport’s rising stars after having his leg amputated when he was 14 in order to save his life.
He won gold in the 12.5 km men’s biathlon sitting race at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics.
Like Masters, he has proved the Games were just the start of good things to come. He’s having quite the Worlds in Prince George winning a medal in every race including two bronze in cross-country.
Ukraine picked up another gold as Liudmyla Liashenko defended her world title from 2017. It was redemption for Liashenko after she had to settle for bronze in the sprint at the 2018 Winter Paralympics.
“Biathlon is like Russian roulette. You never know who will win. It’s always interesting,” she said.
It was Liashenko’s second gold medal in biathlon in Prince George.
Her teammate Oleksandra Kononova was second.
Norway’s teenage talent Vilde Nilsen, who has already captured two world titles this week, took bronze after missing two shots on the range.
Women’s vision impaired
Germany’s Clara Klug headed into the race feeling sick. And she felt even worse after missing one of the targets in the shooting range.
In the vision impaired category, the competitors wear headphones on the range that have a high pitched frequency that helps them aim for the target. Klug missed one.
But in the sprint on the trails, Klug fought back to take her second title in Prince George, thanks to her guide Martin Hartl.
“You need a lot of trust in your guide otherwise it won’t work. You need some self-confidence and I guess you just have to like the feeling of standing right on the skis and getting the feeling of being able to fly somehow.”
Klug defeated the 2017 world champion Oksana Shyshkova of Ukraine and her guide Vitaliy Kazakov.
Sixteen-year-old Andriana Kapustei also of Ukraine finished third, with her guide Nazar Stefurak.
Men’s vision impaired
Yury Holub of Belarus was all smiles with his guide Dzmitry Budzilovich after they won their third world title in four races.
“I’m really happy about this victory. This is my third gold medal and I hope it won’t be my last one here,” Holub said.
He added he has worked on a special strategy for biathlon.
“I learned not to think at the range, and I did a great job during this season and this is the result.”
Dmytro Suiarko and guide Vasyl Potapenko of Ukraine took silver while teammate Anatolii Kovalevskyi and guide Oleksandr Mukshyn took bronze.
The results leave Ukraine with 27 medals so far, more than double any other nation in Prince George.
Catch all the action from Prince George, including live coverage, results and highlights on the official website.