Winter Paralympics preview: Para cross-country skiing day fourDefending champions to be challenged in the middle-distance races on the penultimate day of competition in China 11 Mar 2022
Para cross-country skiing returns to the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre for the penultimate day of competition at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games on Saturday (12 March).
Here is all you need to know about the favourites in the men's and women's middle-distance races.
VISION IMPAIRED EVENTS
Austria's Carina Edlinger stole the show in Beijing taking her guide dog Riley to the medal ceremony after her triumph in the women's sprint vision impaired race.
A bronze medallist at PyeongChang 2018 she will be trying to add another piece of metal to her collection in the middle-distance in China. She finished fourth in the race at January's World Championships in Norway.
Ukraine's Oksana Shyshkova finished second behind her in the sprint and already has a Para cross-country gold in the long-distance. Linn Kazmaier of Germany also finished in the podium in the two events held so far, with a silver in the long-distance and bronze in the sprint.
With five titles in five Games appearances in the middle-distance race, Canada’s superstar Brian McKeever is the clear favourite to a 16th gold in the Winter Paralympics - equalling the record of German Para alpine skier Gerd Schenfelder, the most-decorated winter Paralympian to date.
Jake Adicoff of the USA used McKeever's to take the gold at Lillehammer 2021. He had to settle for silver at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics, the same colour of the two medals he picked in Para cross-country at Beijing 2022.
Sweden's Zebastian Modin will be targeting a third medal after his two bronze in the long-distance and sprint. His guide, Emil Jonsson-Haag is also an Olympic medallist from the Sochi 2014 Games.
North America is well-represented in the women's standing 10km event. The 21-year old Canadian Natalia Wilkie will be defending her title from PyeongChang 2018.
A repeat of South Korea would mean a hat-trick of golds for Wilkie who already triumphed in the long-distance and sprint races.
Only a year younger, Sydney Peterson from the USA is coming to Beijing as the second-place finisher at the Lillehammer 2021 Worlds in the event. She already has a silver and a bronze at this year's Games.
Norway's Vilde Nilsen won gold in the middle-distance race at the World Championships on home snow and will be keen to go one better after the silver medal in the women's sprint.
Ukraine’s Liudmyla Liashenko is another medal hopeful as the PyeongChang 2018 bronze medallist.
Poland’s Witold Skupien is coming to Beijing as one of the favourites in the men's middle-distance standing event following his silver medal at the World Championships in January.
France's Benjamin Daviet will be one of his main rivals as the Beijing 2022 sprint champion. Japan's Taiki Kawayoke was the winner of the long-distance and is another one to watch.
Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynskyi and Canada’s Mark Arendz are the PyeongChang 2018 silver and bronze medallists, respectively. Germany's Marco Maier and China's Jiayun Cai have a silver medal each in Para cross-country events at Beijing 2022 and will also be hoping for more.
USA's duo Oksana Masters and Kendall Gretsch will again be facing local star Hongqiong Yang who already beat them twice in the sprint and long-distance races in China.
China's Panpan Li took the bronze medal in both events and is another one to watch on Saturday.
Masters is the current Paralympic middle-distance champion, while Gretsch took the title at the Lillehammer 2021 World Para Snow Sports Championships.
Germany’s Anja Wicker is the bronze medallist from Lillehammer 2021 and another medal contender in her third Winter Paralympics appearance.
In the men’s sitting event, South Korea’s national hero Eui Hyun Sin will try to defend the first gold medal ever won at the Paralympic Winter Games by his country at PyeongChang 2018.
He took the fifth place in the 7.5km event at the Lillehammer 2021 Worlds and will be determined to get back onto the podium in Beijing.
Italy’s Giuseppe Romele is a silver from Lillehammer 2021 in the middle distance event who will be fighting for a podium finish in his first Winter Paralympics.
The two men's Para cross-country skiing sitting events at Beijing 2022 finished with exactly the same podium positions: China's Peng Zheng first, his compatriot Zhongwu Mao in second and Canada's Colin Cameron in third. Watch out for Zheng again!
Live results from Beijing 2022 will be available on Paralympic.org. You can follow all the action, behind the scenes and news on World Para Snow Sports social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.