CANMORE, Alta. — Canada’s Emily Young opened the Para-Nordic World Cup season with a bronze medal on Saturday.
It was the fourth career Para-Nordic World Cup medal for the 26-year-old, who also captured a bronze at last year’s IPC world championships.
“The sprints are a hard way to start. It’s a long day, but a good way to get everything going,” said Young. “My skiing got better as the day went on. It’s only December so for the first World Cup race of the season, it was really good.”
Neutral athletes Eakaterina Rumyantseva and Anna Milenina were the first two skiers to cross the finish line in the final.
The Vancouver native clocked the third-fastest qualifying time at the Canmore Nordic Centre in the classic-sprit race, earning one of 12 spots in the women’s standing division heats.
Young advanced to the final with two fellow Canadians — rookie Natalie Wilkie and Brittany Hudak — after winning her semifinal heat.
Focused on earning a spot on the Canadian squad for the first time at the Paralympics in three month’s time, Young charged after Rumyantseva, while leading the pace in the chase pack. Wilkie caught Young on the steep climb out of the stadium, but the Canadian fended off the attack with a strong finishing kick to top her two teammates.
“In the final, my goal was to hold my technique, keep skiing, and do the best I can,” said Young. “Three Canadians in the final made it so much better.”
Wilkie, of Salmon Arm, B.C., came away with a fourth-place finish in her first World Cup race. Hudak, of Prince Albert, Sask., skied into fifth spot.
“I’m pretty happy with the race day overall. I felt better in the finals and semifinals than I did in the qualifier. I had a few more nerves in the qualifier, and didn’t have the technique set down,” said Hudak. “I tried to relax a little more in the semis, and think about power and glide.”
The IPC World Cup continues on Sunday with the cross-country skate-skiing middle distance races.
The Canadian Press
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