FINSTERAU, Ger.—Canada’s Collin Cameron finished just shy of his first career podium at the World Para-Nordic Ski World Championships on Sunday in Finsterau, Germany where he was fourth in the men’s sit-ski classification.
Competing for the first time at the premiere Para-nordic ski event, the 28-year-old demonstrated his potential with a personal best performance in sprint racing after a strong fight for fourth place.
“I felt my skiing was pretty solid, and I race hard,” said Cameron, who qualified for the final after placing third in an epic semifinal heat showcasing an incredible display of athleticism and crashes with the world’s best fighting for precious seconds on the challenging track.
“Tactically I could have done a few things a little differently in the finals, but overall this was an excellent day for me, and I’m very happy with this result for just my third ever sprint race in Europe. A huge thanks has to go to the wax techs today for making sure I, yet again, had super fast skis.”
Urkaine’s Maksym Yarovyi won the sit-ski race. Andrew Soule, of the United States, was second, while Norway’s Trygve Steinar Larsen beat Cameron for the bronze medal.
A former sledge hockey player in his hometown of Sudbury, Ont., Cameron has been making steady progress on the international race scene since stumbling across a Para-Nordic program at home in 2015 when he tried a roller sit-ski for the first time. Racing more for experience than medals in his first two World Cup events, Cameron took advantage of a course that suited his style to make a run for the podium.
“They added a really sharp and narrow left turn right after the start area. One of my strong suits is my ability to take turns like this really well so I knew if I picked my line right each time and I nailed the corner, I would have a good chance at keeping ahead of most of the other guys and stay in position for the climb shortly after, along with the few turns in the quick descent to the finish,” said Cameron.
“To get this close to my first podium obviously encourages me to use everything I learned from today to make myself better and ski smarter in the future.”
Sebastien Fortier, of Quebec City, was the only other Canadian in the men’s sit ski field, finishing 17th.
Another rising star for the Canadians, Emily Young, earned a spot in the women’s skate-ski standing final. Competing in her third season, the 26-year-old Vancouverite locked up sixth spot in a hard fought final.
“It was not perfect, but better than yesterday,” said Young. “I came in with a fresh slate and ready for a fight. I had a race plan and knew the course well. The races got better each time and it was encouraging to hang on to some of the fastest skiers for longer then I could in the past. I am happy with where I am in the sprinting field this far in my career.”
Three athletes swept the podium for the Ukraine on Sunday. Liudmyla Liashenko won the gold medal, Olakesandra Kononova skied to the silver, while Iryna Bui finished third.
The Para-Nordic Ski World Championships continue on Tuesday with the biathlon individual races.