Paralympic Winter Games
9-18 March

Tuomisto aims for podium despite uncertain future

Finland’s top cross-country skier is busy training for the season ahead, but is not certain if he will continue to PyeongChang 2018. 17 Sep 2015
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Ilkka Tuomisto of Finland and Dexin Zhou of China compete in the Men's Cross Country 10km Free Standing at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Ilkka Tuomisto #80 of Finland and Dexin Zhou #63 of China compete in the Men's Cross Country 10km Free Standing at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

ⒸGetty Images
By Louise Wood | For the IPC

"In summer I do lot of basic training roller-skiing and running, also some strength training is important. I train in summer and autumn with the Finnish Olympic skiers A-team, so that way it gives me lot of good camps in Finland and other parts of Europe."

After a season badly affected by illness Finland's top cross-country skier Ilkka Tuomisto is determined to do better in 2015-16, even if his long-term future in the sport is uncertain.

A double Paralympian, Tuomisto won silver in the men’s 20km classic standing at Sochi 2014 to add to his bronze in the sprint from Vancouver 2010.

However last season, it was not until the final IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup that he achieved his best finishes – two fourth places in Norway to end the season 11th in the world overall.

"Last year was very difficult for me, I was sick a lot and just in spring I got OK results in Surnadal," he said.

Although the 31-year-old has strong goals for this season, his road to the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games is not so clear:

"It depends on next year's results and my economic situation and I also must think about the future. I think next year I must start to do more work on my parent’s farm. I hope and want to continue at least until the 2018 Paralympic Games but let's see.”

But Tuomisto, whose left arm was amputated at birth, is still working hard to prepare for the first IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in Tyumen, Russia, from 2-9 November:

"In summer I do lot of basic training roller-skiing and running, also some strength training is important. I train in summer and autumn with the Finnish Olympic skiers A-team, so that way it gives me lot of good camps in Finland and other parts of Europe."

His hopes are not just based on his training and fitness however. The final round of this season's World Cup will be in Vuokatti giving him home advantage over his rivals. "I have been training many, many times in Vuokatti, it's a very good place,” he said.

“My personal coach Mikko Virtanen lives in there as well so I often visit. From my home town Tampere it takes five hours to drive there. I feel more comfortable competing in Vuokatti, I won the 2009 World Championship there too so I have had good races there as well."

Tuomisto will be aiming to get some good results in the usual distance races and also in the 30km marathon which will be included for the first time in Vuokatti.

"I love long distance races, you must think so much more than in shorter races about skis, wax, tactics and technique. It's truly an endurance sport."

Having a tough year and the uncertainty surrounding his future has also not affected Tuomisto’s confidence, and he has his targets set high for the coming season.

"Next year I will be back on the podium in the World Cup and get good results,” he said. “I think now summer training is going well and my shape is good so I think it's really possible."

The 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing gets underway in Tyumen with both cross-country and biathlon racing from 2 November. Results from all races will be available at IPC Nordic Skiing’s calendar and results page.