The USA’s Oksana Masters and Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi closed the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Finsterau, Germany, on Sunday (19 February) with clean sweeps of cross-country skiing events.
The last medals of the Worlds were contested in the middle-distance freestyle, the third gold on offer after the sprint and long distance.
As Ukraine topped the medals table with 19 gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze, Yarovyi completed a flawless campaign in the men’s sitting.
Adding to his two cross-country titles and win in the sprint biathlon from Saturday (18 February), the 27-year-old went unbeaten in Finsterau.
“I am really happy because this is my personal best result for gold medals at a World Championships,” Yarovyi said. “I can’t express my feelings, I am just really happy.”
His time of 19:39.4 led him to victory ahead of Belarus’ Dzmitry Loban (19:53.3) with silver and the USA’s bronze medallist Andrew Soule (20:10.4).
Masters also leaves the Bavarian forest with four cross-country and biathlon world titles in the women’s sitting.
“Racing here in Finsterau has been the best days of my career in cross-country and especially biathlon, that was a huge shock” Masters said. “It was partially so successful because of the volunteers making this course so perfect. Thank you so much to Finsterau and the whole community.”
Improving on her silver from the 2015 edition in Cable, USA, Masters (14:15.5) overcame Germany’s defending world and Paralympic champion Andrea Eskau (14:30.5).
Norway’s Birgit Skarstein (14:42.4) was third, making it onto her second podium of the competition.
France’s Benjamin Daviet (21:52.9) proudly held the Tricolore aloft as he crossed the finish line in the men’s standing. The win is his first individual cross-country world title, following on from his maiden biathlon gold.
Daviet broke the dominance of Ukraine’s silver medallist Ihor Reptyukh (22:22.9), the new world champion in the long and sprint distances.
Canada’s Mark Arendz (23:08.9) added a bronze to his best ever World Championships performance.
Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova (19:30.7) successfully defended her world title in the women’s standing, leading two of her teammates onto the podium and completing a trio of cross-country medals.
Liudmyla Liashenko (19:46.6) was second and Iuliia Batenkova (20:20.3) third.
Canada’s Paralympic champion Brian McKeever collected his fifth career middle distance world title in the men’s visually impaired with guide Graham Nishikawa.
Turning up the pace after the first split, McKeever eased to the finish line in 22:15.1.
France’s Paralympic bronze medallist Thomas Clarion (22:45.6) also found some speed to take silver with guide Antoine Bollet. Belarus’ Yury Holub (22:48.1) grabbed bronze; his first World Championships medal at the age of 20 guided by Dzmitry Budzilovich.
Oksana Shyshkova (20:23.2) rounded off an excellent performance by Ukrainian skiers in the women’s visually impaired.
The win is Shyshkova’s sixth medal overall, as the 25-year-old completed a podium sweep of all individual cross-country and biathlon events with guide Vitalii Kazakov.
Belarus’ Sviatlana Sakhanenka (21:05.9), guided by Iryna Nafranovich, was second. Austria’s Carina Edlinger (21:11.5) also leaves Finsterau as a podium finisher from all cross-country competitions, claiming bronze with brother guide Julian Josef.
Canada and the USA finish joint second in the medals table with four golds, one silver and two bronze medal each.
The host nation Germany are third in the standings with three golds, six silver and five bronze.
The next major event for Para Nordic skiers is the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games Test Event, also a World Cup, between 10-15 March.
Full results from the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships are available at Finsterau2017.com.
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