Paralympic Winter Games
7-16 March

Russia heavy favourites for cross-country skiing relays

Ukraine, Canada and Germany could prove to be the toughest tests for the Sochi 2014 host nation. 15 Mar 2014
Imagen
Nikolay Polukhin

Russia's Nikolay Polukhin guide Andrey Tokarev cross the finish line at Sochi 2014.

ⒸGetty Images
By IPC

In the mixed relay, the Russian team will include Elena Remizova and Mikhalina Lysova, who are already both Paralympic champions in Sochi in cross-country skiing.

Host nation Russia head into the Sochi 2014 cross-country skiing relays as the heavy favourites, with the 4x2.5km mixed relay to begin at 10:00 (MSK) on Saturday (15 March) and the 4x2.5km open relay to follow at 12:00 (MSK).

Russia have not lost a cross-country relay at a major international event since before the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics, but they did have to settle for a silver back at the Torino 2006 Games, when Norway took gold.

The home team’s open relay squad will be anchored by sit-skier Roman Petushkov, who has already won five gold medals at Sochi 2014 and is looking to add a sixth to cement himself as the biggest individual medallist at the Games. He will be joined by teammates Vladislav Lekomtcev, Grigory Murygin and Rushan Minnegulov, all of whom have already won medals in Sochi.

Their toughest challengers are expected to be Canada, led by visually impaired star skier Brian McKeever, and a Ukrainian team that includes Olena Iurkovska and Ihor Reptyukh.

Also competing in the open relay will be teams from Kazakhstan, France, China, Belarus, Poland, USA and Finland.

In the mixed relay, the Russian team will include Elena Remizova and Mikhalina Lysova, who are already both Paralympic champions in Sochi in cross-country skiing. Joining them will be Alena Kaufman and Nikolay Polukhin, who have both won biathlon golds at the Games but not yet cross-country skiing titles.

Ukraine have finished second to Russia at the last several major competitions in this event, but with Iuliia Batenkova and Oleksandra Kononova on their team, they hope to change their fate on Saturday.

Several other big names will be in action in the mixed relay, including the USA’s Tatyana McFadden, Norway’s Mariann Marthinsen and Nils-Erik Ulset, Germany’s Andrea Eskau and Sweden’s Helene Ripa.

Canada, Japan, Belarus and South Korea will also be competing.