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Oberried IPC World Cup Recap

American Aaron Pike racing to fourth in the men’s cross-country sitting sprint race at the IPC World Cup on Jan. 23 in Oberried, Germany. (Photo: US Paralympics Nordic)

From Jan. 20-28, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) held its second series of World Cup races in Obberied, Germany. Three biathlon competitions, as well as three cross-country competitions, were featured over the eight-day period for both men and women.

Races kicked off on Saturday, Jan. 20 with a women’s and men’s middle-distance cross-country event.

American Oksana Masters topped the results in the women’s sitting field, completing the 5-kilometer course in a time of 17:59.6 for the win. Finishing in second place was Russian neutral athlete, Mariia Iovleva with a time of 19:35.6. Norway’s Birgit Skarstein claimed the third and final podium spot with a time of 19:40.8.

Also for U.S. Paralympics Nordic, Kendall Gretsch, a 27-year-0ld two-time world champion triathlete new to cross-country, finished sixth in a time of 19:49.0.

In the women’s 7.5 k standing race, Iuliia Batenkova of Ukraine emerged the victor after covering the course in a time of 25:14.7. Behind her in second was neutral athlete, Anna Milenina posting a time of 25:15.6. Emily Young of the Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team rounded out the top three, taking third with a time of 25:19.1.

“Third seems to be my lucky place right now,” Young said according to a Canadian team press release. “It was a good race in some tough conditions, but our team had the best skis and motors out there. 

“It has been a very encouraging start to the season, and this World Cup is very important to have both the powerhouse Neutral and Ukraine athletes here in the standing category,” she added. “It is great to see I can hold up a strong fight against them and that helps the motivation.”

Young’s teammate Brittany Hudak finished fifth, clocking in at 25:41.8.

“I felt really good during the race and the skis were spot on,” Young continued. “Even with the tumble I was skiing strong and kept the podium positions in sight. I can’t be upset with too much today. Mistakes are for learning, and I learned today that skis that are crossed don’t work that great. I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow.”

Neutral racer Mikhalina Lysova claimed first in the women’s 7.5 k visually impaired race after finishing in a time of 25:29.6. Belarusian skier, Sviatlana Sakhanenka earned second in 25:31.4, while neutral athlete Elena Remizova finished just behind Sakhanenka in a time of 25:56.4 for third.

The men’s sitting 7.5 k saw neutral skier Aleksandr Davidovich come out on top with his time of 21:21.4 for first. Another neutral competitor, Ivan Golubkov raced to second after covering the course in a time of 21:51.9. American Andy Soule landed on the podium in third with his time of 22:43.3.

Canadian Chris Klebl finished in a time of 23:17.9 for sixth, while American Aaron Pike claimed 10th in 23:49.0. Three more Canadians competed in the event, with Collin Cameron taking 12th in a time of 24:10.4, Derek Zaplotinsky finished 15th in a time of 24:29.7, and Ethan Hess finishing 25th in a time of 28:40.0.

Taking the win in the men’s 10 k standing event was Vladislav Lekomtsev, a neutral competitor who covered the course in a time of 26:28.1. Canada’s Mark Arendz claimed second after clocking in at 27:21.1.

“I’m excited about that race,” Arendz said, according to a team press release. “I woke up with the confidence I could be competitive,” said Arendz. “The conditions made for difficult waxing, but I had all the trust that our team would provide some of the best skis. Those skis played a huge role in today’s result, so I can’t thank our wax techs enough.

“A lot of components came together today for me,” Arendz added. “I know there are some areas still where I can have a better race, but to start the week with this kind of result is a truly amazing feeling.”

The third and final podium spot went to Finland’s Ilkka Tuomisto, who finished in a time of 27:58.4 for third.

Also competing in the standing race was Canadian Kyle Barber, who finished 23rd in a time of 37:48.5.

Canadian paralympic legend, Brian McKeever won the men’s 10 k visually impaired event in a time of 26:40.6.

“That one was miserable,” McKeever said, according to the press release. “The conditions were so tough. It was dumping snow and warm which is the trickiest conditions for getting the right kick wax. We decided to double pole it today. It was a pretty flat course with one hill, which made you push hard and it hurt.

“We pushed the pace really good the whole way, but it just didn’t feel comfortable at all today,” he added.

Finishing behind him in second was neutral athlete, Oleg Ponomarev in a time of 27:21.6. Another neutral competitor, Nikolai Polukhin claimed third with a time of 27:39.9.

Day 1 Cross-Country Results: Women’s 5 k/7.5 k  | Men’s 7.5 k/10 k 

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Day 2

Oksana Masters racing to first in the women’s 12 k sitting cross-country race on Jan. 21 at the IPC World Cup in Oberried, Germany. (Photo: US Paralympics Nordic/Facebook)

Racers returned to the venue Sunday, Jan. 21, for a distance cross-country event.

Masters doubled up on her cross-country wins, taking first in the women’s 12 k sitting event. She covered the course in a blistering time of 35:47.5. Second went to neutral athlete Irina Guliaeva, who finished in a time of 38:23.1. Norway’s Skarstein reached the podium once again, earning third in a time of 38:52.4.

American Gretsch repeated in sixth with a time of 39:25.9.

The women’s 15 k standing competition saw neutral athlete Ekaterina Rumyantseva emerge victorious after she covered the course in a time of 42:49.2. Ukraine’s Batenkova once again reached the podium, this time in second with a time of 44:40.1. Another Ukrainian skier, Iryna Bui finished third in a time of 46:04.8.

Canada’s Young placed fifth in a time of 47:37.0, while her Canadian teammate, Hudak finished seventh in a time of 49:55.4.

Lysova, competing as neutral, earned her second victory in a row, winning the women’s 15 k visually impaired event in a time of 43:21.7. Oksana Shyshkova of Ukraine claimed second in a time of 43:57.9, while Austria’s Carina Edlinger took third in a time of 44:41.9.

The men’s 15 k sitting event went to neutral athlete Golubkov in a time of 37:25.0. Davidovich, also a neutral competitor, clocked in at 38:32.3 for second place. Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi reached the podium on Sunday, taking third in a time of 40:09.2.

Just missing the top-three in fourth was Soule, who finished in 40:20.8.

Leading the Canadians in the sitting event was Zaplotinsky, who finished seventh in 42:11.8. Klebl placed ninth in 42:29.8, and Cameron 13th in 43:18.4. Clocking in at 50:27.8 was Hess in 19th place.

Winning the men’s standing 20 k was France’s Benjamin Daviet in a time of 42:41.4. Daviet’s closest competitor was Ukrainian Ihor Reptyukh, who finished second in a time of 42:44.4. Neutral athlete Lekomtsev once again reached the podium, this time in third with a time of 44:07.8.

Canada’s Arendz finished in fifth with a time of 45:15.5, while his teammate Barber finished in a time of 1:03:46.0 for 18th.

Neutral competitor, Stanislav Chokhlaev took first in the men’s 20 k visually impaired event posting a time of 42:18.4 for the win. McKeever placed second in a time of 42:36.3.

“We skied okay, but we are just not firing on all cylinders,” said McKeever, referring to himself and his guide Graham Nishikawa, in a team press release. “Graham set a pace we felt we could be consistent with, but in the end, if there was a chance to pick it up neither of us could. Graham pulled off to let me go on my own at the end, but I had nothing. We were both maxed out.”

“We are pretty cooked right now, but there is no need to hit the panic button,” McKeever continued. “It is a long way to go until we get to Korea so this is a good set of training races for us, and a chance to see where everyone else is at. I think we are in very good shape and in a good place.”

Polukhin repeated his third place finish from Saturday, clocking in at 44:15.6 in Sunday’s distance event.

Day 2 Cross-Country Results: Women’s 12 k/15 k | Men’s 15 k/20 k

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Day 3

Racers had a day of rest on Monday, Jan. 22 before heading back to the venue on Tuesday, Jan. 23 for cross-country sprints.

Masters continued her streak, winning the week’s third and final cross-country sitting event — the women’s 1 k sprint — in 2:14.17. Finishing behind Masters in second was Norway’s Skarstein in 2:19.79. Third went to neutral athlete Iovleva in 2:23.44.

Gretsch also qualified for the final and finished fifth in a time of 2:33.24.

Ukrainian Liudmyla Liashenko earned her first win of the week, crossing first in the women’s standing 1.1 k sprint in a time of 2:54.84. Neutral competitor, Rumyantseva crossed second in 3:04.14, while Norway’s Vilde Nilsen earned third in 2:58.74.

Young advanced to the final, where she finished fifth in a time of 2:58.97. Hudak just missed qualifying for the final and finished the day in seventh with a time of 3:03.88.

Belarus’s Sakhanenka won the women’s visually impaired sprint, crossing first in the final in 2:56.94. Neutral athlete Lysova crossed second in a time of 2:58.35. Austria’s Edlinger claimed third, crossing in a time of 3:00.82.

Neutral competitor Golubkov took his second cross-country win of the week, crossing first in the men’s 1 k sitting sprint in a time of 1:50.48. Tuesday saw Soule garner his second cross-country podium of the week, as he finished second to Golubkov in 2:03.83.

For his first podium appearance of the week, Canada’s Cameron crossed third in a time of 1:56.67.

“It feels wonderful to get on the podium, especially after some really tough results for me so far here in Germany,” Cameron said, according to a team press release. “I remained focused today. I was battling stomach issues all day, and almost wasn’t going to race in the first heat.

“I just skied through it all and kept my focus on going as fast as I could,” Cameron added. “It was an awesome battle to the end, and was very close.”

Finishing just off the podium, in a time of 2:00.50 was Pike in fourth.

Zaplotinsky advanced all the way to semifinals, where he finished in eighth in a time of 2:06.71. Klebl placed 14th with a time of 2:07.83, while his Canadian teammate  Sebastien Fortier finished in 17th in a time of 2:13.12. Also for Canada, Hess placed 30th in a time of 2:29.55.

In the men’s standing 1.1 k sprint, Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynskyi came away with the win, crossing first in a time of 2:21.82. Rounding out the podium was Finland’s Tuomisto in second in a time of 2:26.99, and Ukraine’s Reptyukh in third in a time of 2:23.73.

Barber finished in 21st in a time of 2:53.42 and Arendz did not start.

McKeever doubled his week’s cross-country victories, crossing first in the men’s visually impaired sprint in a time of 2:29.89.

“It wasn’t a bad day all around,” McKeever said, according to the press release. “I went on kick wax in the qualifier since my back injury doesn’t handle double poling well, but it was too slow on this course and I had no choice but to switch for the semi- and the finals. It was a good call since it gave me a chance for the win.”

“The final was chaotic, but I was able to be aggressive and create space to make a good pass in the last 100 metres,” he added.

Crossing behind McKeever in second was neutral athlete Vladimir Udaltsov with a time of 2:26.15. Sweden’s Zebastian Modin claimed third in 2:21.51.

Day 3 Cross-Country Results: Women’s sprint| Men’s sprint

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Day 4

Athletes had another day of rest on Wednesday, Jan. 24 before returning to the venue on Thursday, Jan. 25 for the first of three biathlon races.

Masters racked up another win in Thursday’s biathlon sitting sprint. The victory marked her fourth win in a row. She covered the 6 k course in a time of 20:46.1 after two missed shots (1+1). Master’s teammate Gretsch reached the podium in second place with a time of 21:04.1 after shooting clean.

Rounding out the remainder of the podium was neutral athlete Nadezhda Fedorova in third with a time of 21:43.3 after also shooting 100 percent.

The women’s standing 6 k biathlon sprint went to neutral competitor Milenina in a time of 18:56.3 after one miss (1+0). Tying Milenina’s score but finishing in a time of 18:57.9 for second was neutral athlete, Rumyantseva.

Norway’s Nilsen snagged the third and final podium spot after shooting clean and clocking in at 19:03.0.

Hudak shot 100 percent and raced to sixth place, covering the course in a time of 20:42.4. Young placed eighth in 21:02.3 after three misses (2+1).

Neutral athlete Lysova captured first in the women’s 6 k visually impaired biathlon sprint in a time of 19:32.1 after one miss (1+0). Remizova, also neutral, tied Lysova’s score and placed second in a time of 20:04.2.

Germany’s Clara Klug shot 100 percent and completed the course in a time of 20:14.5 for third.

In the men’s sitting biathlon sprint, neutral athlete Golubkov garnered another win, finishing first in a time of 21:08.2 after two misses (1+1). Ukraine’s Taras Rad raced to a second place finish after shooting 100 percent and clocking in in a time of 21:17.5.

After one miss (1+0), neutral athlete Davidovich placed third in a time of 21:44.8. American Soule just missed the podium in fourth, covering the course in a time of 21:45.2 after shooting clean.

Pike also shot 100 percent and finished seventh in 22:35.2. Cameron lead the Canadians in eighth in a time of 23:07.0 after shooting clean.

The next Canadian finisher was Zaplotinsky in 13th with a time of 24:32.4 and two misses (1+1). Following him was Fortier in 23rd, who covered the course in a time of 29:07.7 after seven misses (5+2).  

Ukraine’s Reptyukh won the men’s 7.5 k standing biathlon sprint in a time of 18:20.6 with 100 percent shooting. Canada’s Arendz earned second in a time of 18:42.4 after also shooting clean. Neutral athlete Vitalii Malyshev claimed the third and final podium spot in a time of 18:51.7 after also shooting 100 percent.

Barber finished in 22nd in a time of 25:56.9 after two misses (2+2).

Chokhlaev, a neutral competitor, took the men’s 7.5 k visually impaired biathlon sprint in a time of 18:56.3 with one miss (0+1). Neutral athlete Polukhin shot clean and raced to a second place finish after covering the course in a time of 19:11.8.

Ukraine’s Anatolii Kovalevskyi also shot 100 percent and finished third in a time of 19:24.5.

Day 4 Biathlon Results: Women sprint | Men sprint

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Day 5

IPC competitors in Oberried had another off day on Friday, Jan. 25 before heading back to the venue on Saturday, Jan. 27 for the distance biathlon events.

Claiming first in the women’s 12.5 k sitting biathlon race was neutral athlete Guliaeva in a time of 43:46.0 after shooting 100 percent. Second went to another neutral athlete, Marta Zainullina, who covered the course in a time of 44:34.7 after two missed shots (1+0+0+1).

Third went to neutral competitor, Natalia Kocherova who shot clean and clocking in in a time of 46:22.8. Gretsch finished just off the podium in fourth, having covered the course in a time of 46:42.4 with three misses (1+0+0+2).

Masters placed ninth in a time of 49:47.8 after six misses (2+1+1+2).

Taking the win in the women’s standing 12.5 k biathlon race was neutral competitor Rumyantseva in a time of 39:26.2 after one miss (0+0+1+0). Second place went to Milenina, also a neutral athlete, who clocked in in a time of 39:35.7 after two missed shots (0+1+1+0).

Bui of Ukraine captured the third and final podium spot in a time of 40:17.3 with 100 percent shooting.

Hudak had one miss (1+0+0+0) and placed eighth in a time of 43:55.6. Her teammate Young finished with five misses (1+1+0+3) in a time of 45:36.7 for 10th.

Coming out on top in the women’s 12.5 k visually impaired biathlon event was neutral competitor Lysova in a time of 40:48.1 with 100 percent shooting. Behind her in second was Germany’s Klug,who also shot clean and clocked in in a time of 43:41.7.

Racing to third in a time of 44:13.7 after three misses (1+0+1+1) was neutral competitor Remizova.

In the men’s 15 k sitting biathlon race, Golubkov tallied yet another win, covering the course in a time of 36:50.6 after one miss (1+0+0+0). Also with one miss (0+1+0+0) neutral athlete Davidovich raced to second place in a time of 38:54.6. After two missed shots (0+1+0+1), Ukraine’s Rad raced to third in a time of 39:56.3 5.

Pike just missed the podium in fourth, clocking in in a time of 42:17.4 after one miss (0+0+1+0). Finishing just behind Pike in fifth was Cameron with two misses (1+0+0+1) and a time of 42:28.6.

“I’m very pleased with how things went today,” Cameron said, according to a team press release. “The skiing was not the best. I definitely have some fatigue creeping in after some tough races here, but some decent shooting definitely made the difference for me today.

“I’m confident but staying grounded and realistic about things going into the Games,” he continued. “It was nice finding a bit of my speed again on sprint day, and my shooting is coming together well, so I’m just aiming to build on that more as we prepare for March.”

Zaplotinsky also competed in the event and raced to 13th in a time of 46:50.4 after four misses (1+1+2+0). Soule finished in 14th in a time of 47:05.4 after seven missed shots (2+1+1+3). Placing 23rd with 11 misses (3+3+2+3) and a time of 56:52.8 was Canada’s Fortier.

France’s Daviet shot 100 percent and took the win in the men’s standing 15 k biathlon event in a time of 39:28.5. Also shooting clean was second place finisher and neutral athlete, Aleksandr Pronkov with a time of 42:08.2. Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset snagged the third and final podium spot in a time of 42:30.1 also with 100 percent shooting.

Arendz placed fifth in a time of 43:38.1 with two misses (0+0+1+1).

Topping the results in the men’s 15 k visually impaired event was neutral competitor Chokhlaev who clocked in in a time of 43:00.2 after shooting clean. Second went to Ukraine’s Kovalevskyi in a time of 46:52.9 after two missed shots (1+1+0+0). Rounding out the podium in third was neutral athlete Polukhin with two misses (0+1+0+1) and a time of 47:16.9.

Day 5 Biathlon Results: Women 12.5 k | Men 15 k 

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Day 6

The final IPC event in Oberried took place on Sunday, Jan. 28 with a middle distance biathlon event.

Earning her fifth win and second biathlon victory for the week, Masters took the women’s 10 k sitting event in a time of 35:41.4 after one miss (0+0+0+1). Along with the five victories in Germany, Masters was also voted the IPC Allianz Athlete of the Month for January. Forty-eight percent of the public votes went to Masters, according to an IPC press release.

After shooting 100 percent, neutral athlete Guliaeva placed second in a time of 37:25.6. Fedorova, another neutral athlete, placed third in a time of 37:33.3 after one miss (0+1+0+0).

Gretsch just missed the podium in third, covering the course in a time of 37:51.5 after two misses (1+1+0+0).

In the women’s 10 k standing, neutral competitor Rumyantseva finished first in a time of 33:26.0 after two misses (0+0+1+1). Ukraine’s Batenkova shot clean and raced to a second place finish in a time of 33:57.9. The third and final podium spot went to another Ukrainian skier, Bui, after she also shot 100 percent and completed the course in a time of 34:41.0.

After four missed shots (0+1+2+1), Young finished in seventh in time of 39:20.3.

The women’s visually impaired 10 k went to neutral competitor Lysova in a time of 31:01.0 after she shot clean. Ukrainian Shyshkova missed five shots (3+2+0+0) and eventually raced to second place in 33:00.5. Natalia Rubanovska, also racing for Ukraine, completed the course in 33:30.8 after three misses (1+0+1+1) for third.

Coming in first in the men’s 12.5 k sitting biathlon race was Ukraine’s Rad. After shooting 100 percent, Rad covered the course in a time of 36:27.3. Second went to South Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin, who also shot clean and finished in a time of 37:27.0.

Davidovich, a neutral athlete, missed one shot (0+0+1+0) and raced to third in a time of 37:31.6.

Soule and Pike placed eighth and ninth respectively. Soule missed three shots (2+0+1+0) and finished in a time of 39:56.5, while Pike covered the course in a time of 41:14.6 after five misses (1+2+1+1).

Zaplotinsky covered the course in a time of 42:53.6 after two missed shots (0+1+1+0) and placed 11th.

Cameron did not finish, while his teammate, Fortier did not start.

Competing as a neutral athlete, Lekomtsev finished first in the men’s 12.5 k standing biathlon race, shooting 100 percent and covering the course in a time of 31:51.9. France’s Daviet missed one shot (0+1+0+0) and raced to second in a time of 32:57.0.

Neutral athlete Pronkov shot clean and claimed third in a time of 34:01.4. Canada’s Arendz placed fifth in a time of 34:12.1 after one miss (0+0+1+0).

Also competing for Canada, Barber placed 20th in a time of 47:38.8 after nine misses (3+1+4+1).  

The men’s visually impaired 12.5 k biathlon race went to neutral competitor Chokhlaev, who shot clean and covered the course in a time of 29:42.9. Polukhin, another neutral athlete, claimed second in a time of 30:33.0 after one miss (0+0+1+0). Ukrainian Iurii Utkin reached the podium, finishing third in a time of 30:43.7 after shooting 100 percent.

Day 6 Biathlon Results: Women’s 10 k | Men’s 12.5 k 

— Gabby Naranja

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