biathalon canada

Canada’s Mark Arendz took home the first gold medal of the IPC Biathlon World Cup Finals in Vuokatti, Finland on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Arendz, who is one of the youngest athletes on the international circuit, combined the third fastest ski time on the day with shooting clean in his four trips to the range en route to clocking a golden time of 41:11:0 in the men’s 15-kilometre biathlon standing competition.

“It was a really good day,” said Arendz, who has climbed his way onto the podium five times this year. “My skiing was bang on. I got the pace right and was right there with the top guys all day.”

Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset, who is the overall World Cup leader, finished 20 seconds off the pace in second spot with a time of 41:31:2, while Grygorri Vovchynskyi grabbed third place at 41:45.2.

It was the second gold medal of the season for the Springton, P.E.I. native, and fifth of his career.

“I have been working hard on my skiing and it is paying off,” said Arendz. “I really liked the course here. It has some flow but also some hard climbs with no real flats. It makes you work and I like that.”

Arendz has evolved into one of the top Para-Nordic biathletes in the world since enjoying a breakout season in 2011 where he finished second overall on the IPC Biathlon World Cup.

“Mark is the best marksman on the circuit which has been key to his success,” said Robin McKeever, coach, Canadian Para-Nordic Team. “We have worked hard on improving his skiing by increasing the volume of training and speed. In the past we could not do this because he would be flat at this time of year, but we are seeing progress. We still have lots of work to do.”

Arendz’s golden finish brings Canada’s medal haul to eight at the IPC World Cup Finals. Arendz, along with fellow Canadians Sébastien Fortier, Brian McKeever and Erik Carleton, will hit the start line again on Saturday.

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