Canadian sit-skier Collin Cameron sprinted to the silver medal on a historic weekend in Dresden, Germany for the Para-Nordic World Cup which was being held on the same course as World Cup races for the first time in the history of the sport.
Cameron, of Sudbury, Ont., locked up his second sprint podium performance of the season in the men’s sit-ski race, which was held over the last two days, following a thrilling dash to the finish line where he was edged out for the gold in a photo finish.
“I’m really happy with this weekend’s performance. I stuck to the race plan perfectly and lost by the length of a binding,” said Cameron. “That’s just the way sprint days go sometimes. Doing the race over two days was definitely out of the ordinary for us. It’s tough coming here, and not having our normal routine for warming up so I’m proud of this result.”
The 31-year-old Cameron was a force throughout the two-day affair. After posting the second-fastest qualifying time on the 800-metre city sprint course, the reigning World Champion in the men’s sit-ski category dominated his semifinal heat to punch his ticket to the finals with the old city of Dresden serving as the backdrop.
Cameron, a three-time Paralympic medallist, executed his race tactics to perfection while attacking the unique course rolled out on the Dresden streets to lock up the sixth Para-Nordic World Cup podium of his career.
“The course was ideal for my race style. A 180-degree corner after a little downhill was perfect for me, and I was able to really utilize that in my race plan both yesterday and in today’s final,” said Cameron. “It’s not every day we get to share the same venue and race weekend with the World Cup athletes so that was very special for everyone in the Para-Nordic community.”
Russia’s Ivan Golubkov edged Cameron out at the finish line for the gold medal and his second-straight victory. Danila Britika, of Russia, claimed the bronze silver medal.
Canada’s Derek Zaplotinsky also enjoyed a strong performance in Dresden. Competing in his first full season with Canada’s top Para-Nordic Team, the Smoky Lake, Alta. product captured the world’s attention after clocking the fourth-fastest qualifying. Zaplotinsky put up a strong fight in his opening round heat but his day came to an end when he crossed the line fourth. Only the top-three athletes in each heat move onto the finals.
Katherine Stewart-Jones and Dahria Beatty Finish 11th in World Cup Team Sprint
Canada’s Katherine Stewart-Jones (Gatineau, Que.) and Dahria Beatty (Whitehorse) joined forces for the skate-ski team sprint race where they finished in 11th place.
In the team sprint, athletes each ski three laps, handing off to their teammate after completing the 1.3-kilometre leg. The Canadians skied a strong semifinal heat, taking the early lead, but when all was said and done, ended up in third following a photo finish.
The top-two teams in each of the two heats advance to the finals along with the next six fastest times overall. The Canadians were edged off the start line following a second lightning-quick heat which qualified eight other teams ahead of them.
Sweden’s Maja Dahlqvist and Linn Svahn won the women’s team sprint. Switzerland’s Laurien Van Der Graaff and Nadine Faehndrich skied to the silver medal, while another Swedish women’s team of Evelina Settlin and Linn Soemskar were third.
British Columbia’s Katie Weaver and Maya MacIsaac-Jones (Athabasca, Alta.) were 25th.
Canada also suited up two teams for the men’s sprint competition. Both squads were matched up in the same semifinal heat, but neither team were able to advance to the finals.
Bob Thompson, of Thunder Bay, Ont., and Graham Ritchie, of Parry Sound, Ont., finished 14th overall after placing seventh in their semifinal round. Antoine Cyr, of Gatineau, Que. and Ottawa’s Pierre Grall-Johnson finished three spots back in their heat, placing 20th overall.
Jay Renaud and Lucas Chanavat, of France, won the men’s race. Sweden’s Marcus Grate and Johan Haeggstroem were second, while Russia’s Andrey Krasnov and Gleb Retivyky rounded out the men’s podium.