Mark Arendz put a silver lining around a week that saw Canada’s Para-Nordic squad rack up seven medals at the World Cup in Altenberg, Germany.
Determined to bounce back after a disappointing effort in Friday’s race, the 29-year-old Arendz had a near perfect day on the skis and in the range to post a second-place time of 10:45.4 in the men’s standing classification.
“It was much better today, and I finally felt like myself skiing again,” said Arendz, who not only crashed but missed two shots in Friday’s race. “I made uncharacteristic mistakes yesterday, and they taught me harsh lessons. Strangely enough, it was a matter of going harder rather than slower and that made the difference.”
Battling through marginal snow conditions on the 500-metre loop, the eight-time Paralympic medallist was clean in his two rounds of shooting and determined on the skis.
“I struggled to find the speed and movement earlier in the week, but I got it back today,” added Arendz. “To be in the mix skiing with the fastest men in addition to shooting fast and clean was the key to success.
“It has been a very challenging week, but to cap it off in this kind of style felt great.”
Russia’s Vladislav Lekomtsev also shot clean to top Arendz for the gold with a time of 10:26.2. Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh held on for the bronze medal despite missing one target in his opening round of shots. Reptyukh stopped the clock at 11:05.8.
Athletes normally ski a penalty loop for every missed target. A lack of snow in Altenberg prevented race officials from creating a penalty loop. Athletes were docked 20 second penalties for each miss.
Kyle Barber, of Sudbury, Ont., was 11th at 12:39.2 (2+1). Canada’s Jesse Ehman hit all 10 targets, while placing 13th at 13:33.8.
A trio of Canadians were stacked on top of each other in the women’s standing classification.
Emily Young (North Vancouver) was sixth at 13:47.5 (0+2); Brittany Hudak (Prince Albert, Sask.) shot clean to finish seventh at 13:59.6; and Natalie Wilkie (Salmon Arm, B.C.), placed eighth at 14:06.2 (1+1).
Derek Zaplotinsky, of Smoky Lake, Alta., was seventh in the men’s sit-ski classification with a time of 15:24.5 (1+1).
The Canadians combined to win seven medals in cross-country skiing and biathlon races over the last week. Collin Cameron had one silver and two bronze, Brian McKeever added a gold and silver, while Natalie Wilkie also had a bronze in addition to Arendz’s silver medal on Saturday.
Complete Para-Nordic Results: https://www.paralympic.org/nordic-skiing/live-results/info-live-results/NS0A20/eng/zz/engzz_general-general-schedule.htm
Liliane Gagnon Leads Canucks at Youth Olympic Games
Quebec’s Liliane Gagnon was the lone Canadian to qualify for the heats in the skate-sprint race at the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland on Saturday.
The 17-year-old qualified for the head-to-head heats with the top-30 athletes in 22nd position. She finished at the back of the pack in her opening round, placing 29th overall.
Jasmine Drolet, of Rossland, B.C., was 34th.
Switzerland’s Siri Wigger won the women’s gold medal.
Neither of the two Canadian men from Whitehorse were able to secure a spot in the heats. Sasha Masson qualified 38th, while Derek Dueling was 44th.
Norway’s Nikolai Holmboe won the men’s gold medal.