The 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships get underway in Finsterau, Germany, on Friday (10 February), gathering 120 of the world’s best biathletes and cross-country skiers from 19 countries.
It is the last major competition before the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. All 38 medal events between 10-19 February will be shown live alongside live results at www.Finsterau2017.com.
Paralympic gold medallist Andrea Eskau hopes to benefit from the home crowd and defend the three women’s cross-country sitting world titles she won two years ago.
“If I win a medal, I can celebrate this with my family. This is a nice thought!”, Eskau said. “I hope to be able to compete in Finsterau in very good shape.”
But Belarus’ overall World Cup leader Lidziya Hrafeyeva and the USA’s two-time Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games medallist Oksana Masters also aim to rise to the top of the podium.
With home support behind him, Martin Fleig will be one to look out for in the men’s biathlon sitting. In January the German skier secured his first World Cup victory in two years, giving him a boost ahead of Finsterau 2017.
“At night I dream about crossing the finish line and knowing that I have won a medal in my home World Championships,” Fleig said. “It would be a feeling which I cannot describe at the moment.”
Ukraine´s Maksym Yarovyi, an athlete to look out for in both cross-country and biathlon, won two golds in Cable, USA, in 2015. Belarus’ biathlon World Cup leader Dzmitry Loban also aims to top the podium.
An exciting duel is expected in the men’s standing. Ukrainian cross-country World Cup overall leader Ihor Reptyukh and his multiple Paralympic medallist teammate Grygorii Vovchynskyi are set to go head-to-head.
But French 27-year-old Benjamin Daviet will be hopeful of further success in the biathlon races after securing three wins at the World Cup in Western Center, Ukraine, last month. Norway´s Sochi 2014 two-time biathlon silver medallist Nils-Erik Ulset is another to watch.
Ukraine’s multiple-Paralympic champion Oleksandra Kononova will hope to match and better her performance from 2015 in the women’s standing. The 25-year-old, who seeks to defend six world titles, is the overall World Cup leader in both cross-country and biathlon.
Canada will be hopeful of landing gold in the men’s cross-country visually impaired through multiple Paralympic champion Brian McKeever with guide Graham Nishikawa, who has not lost a single race since 2014. Amongst his toughest opponents will be Sweden’s World Cup leader Zebastian Modin, guided by Johannes Andersson.
Oksana Shyshkova will aim to add several golds to her haul in the women’s visually impaired with guide Vitalii Kazakov. The Ukrainian had an outstanding start to the season, securing nine wins in cross-country and biathlon over two World Cups.
Austria´s newcomer Carina Edlinger may have less experience but has proven capable of springing a surprise after winning the cross-country middle distance at the Western Center World Cup, guided by Julian Josef Edlinger.
At only 22-years-old Germany’s Clara Klug has shown rapidly improving form since Cable 2015 with guide Martin Hartl, where she could not reach the podium, achieving multiple World Cup podium-finishes.
The middle distance biathlon will be the first event to be contested on 11 February. The individual and sprint events will take place on 14 and 18 February, respectively.
The cross-country sprint races will be contested on 12 February, the long distance on 16 February and the middle distance on 19 February. The open and mixed relays will take place on 15 February.
Live results and coverage from the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships will be available at Finsterau2017.com.
Right free pictures for editorial use are available for download at Flickr account.
Broadcast quality race footage will also available on request by contacting [email protected]
The competition can also be followed on Facebook.com/ParaNordic, Twitter and Instagram (@ParaNordic).