Unseasonably warm and windy weather at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in Canmore, Canada failed to stop Russian athletes winning gold in all six middle distance biathlon events on Sunday (15 December).
For the second successive day, Russian athletes again won 15 out of a possible 18 medals, highlighting why they are expected to sweep the board in Nordic Skiing at March’s Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Blustery conditions hampered the first two races of the day and as a result there were no clean shots by any of the competitors in the men’s 12.5km sitting race. At the end of five 2.5km laps, Russia's Roman Petushkov (40:57.3) was the overall winner despite three dropped shots. Japan's Kozo Kubo (41:07.9) repeated Saturday's silver medal finish whilst Russian teenager Grigory Murygin (41:36.1) took third. Kubo and Murygin both missed two shots each.
The women’s 10km sitting race was also hampered by the wind, however three Russians still made the podium. Russia’s Marta Zaynullina (46:25.5) claimed her second victory in as many days after winning Saturday’s 6km event. In silver, 12 seconds behind, was Nadezda Andreeva (46:36.8) whilst Natalia Kocherova (47:13.0) took third, helped by the best shooting in the field.
Russian 18 year old Aleksandr Iaremchuk (35:19.6) pulled off an upset in the men’s 12.5km standing event finishing ahead of home favourite Mark Arendz (35:27.0). Iaremchuk only dropped one shot to Arendz’s two and that proved the difference between the two athletes.
"I totally rushed the last shot. I started to get up before I had finished and that's what caused the miss. With the incredible field of athletes out here you have to shoot clean," said Arendz shortly after the race.
Russia’s Azat Karachurin (36:02.0) was third with two dropped shots.
The women’s 10km standing race saw all three medalists from Saturday’s 6km event also take the podium positions with the top two finishers swapping places.
After finishing with a silver medal on Saturday, Russian Natalia Bratiuk (34:54.1) this time took gold, finishing ahead of teammate Alena Kaufman (34:56.4). The two had identical shooting records, dropping three shots in total, however it was Bratiuk who was marginally quicker over the longer distance. Bronze for the second successive day went to Japan’s Momoko Dekijima (35:33.9).
As with Saturday’s short course races, the men’s and women’s visually impaired races were totally dominated by Russian athletes.
Nickolay Polukhin and guide Andrey Tokarev (35:35.9) claimed their second gold in successive days in the men’s 12.5km race. The pair only left two targets standing and finished a minute ahead of second place Stanislav Chokhlaev and guide Maksim Pirogov (36:23.4) who left four targets up. Oleg Ponomarev and guide Andrei Romanov (37:04.9) missed three shots and finished third.
Elena Remizova with guide Natalia Yakimova (34:47.5) overcame two missed shots with fast skiing to take first place in the women’s 10km event. Iuliia Budaleeva and guide Tatiana Maltseva (36:04.) shot clean to secure second place in 36:04.0 whilst Elvira Kalabina with guide Irina Sitnikova (38:38.6) were third and left one unanswered target.
The IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup will conclude in Canmore on Tuesday (17 December) with the men’s and women’s long course biathlon races.
Pictures of both competitions will be available on Flickr and video highlights will be available everyday here.
Updates will also be posted to Twitter and Facebook.
Results from both cross country and biathlon events will be available at http://www.paralympic.org/nordic-skiing/calendar.