Canada’s Para-Nordic Squad Skis to Fourth in Mixed Relay

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(ISN) – CABLE, Wis.—Canada fielded a team of two veterans and two rookies loaded with potential, who joined forces for an impressive fourth place finish in the mixed relay, marking the final day of competition at the 2015 IPC Nordic World Skiing Championships in Cable, Wisconsin.

Led by Paralympic champion, Chris Klebl (Canmore, Alta.), the Canucks were in the medal mix for the opening 2.5-kilometre leg. Klebl handed off to two-time Paralympic medallist in biathlon, Mark Arendz (Hartsville, P.E.I.) who set the stage for the Canadian rookies in the final two laps. At just 21 years of age, Brittany Hudak of Prince Albert, Sask., continued to demonstrate her potential while holding court with many of the world’s best before handing off to rookie, Emily Weekes. Competing in her first major international event, Weekes of North Vancouver, brought the Canadians home – just short of the podium in fourth at 31:55.2

“All things considered, it was an amazing day for us. We skied 3.5 out of the 4 legs to near perfection,” said Robin McKeever, coach, Canadian Para-Nordic Team. “While we didn’t get on the podium, this was a big day for our team that provided additional experience and learning on what is required to compete at this level.”

Russia won the mixed relay with a time of 29:47.5. The Ukraine were second at 30:26.8, while Norway won the race for the bronze with a time of 30:38.9.

While Canada’s lone medal at the 2015 World Championships came from Brian McKeever and Erik Carleton winning the gold in the men’s distance cross-country ski race – the only event the legendary Paralympian McKeeer suited up for this year, it was a successful benchmark on the road to Pyeongchang 2018 for Canada’s young team who leave with a handful of fourth and fifth-place results.

“I am really impressed overall with the performance of our two girls (Brittany Hudak and Emily Weekes),” added McKeever. “They both had career best performances throughout the week. We would have liked a little more out of our World Cup guys, but there were a lot of learnings and we will build from this.”