Canadian Paralympic skier Brian McKeever wins sprint gold at IPC World Cup event

By The Canadian Press
December 13, 2018 - 2:30pm

VUOKATTI, Finland — Canada's Brian McKeever won a gold medal in a five-kilometre cross-country ski race Thursday at the first stop in the IPC World Cup circuit.

The 17-time-Paralympic medallist from Canmore, Alta., clocking a time of 11 minutes 4.6 in the visually impaired category.

McKeever welcomed back guide Graham Nishikawa of Whitehorse, who returned from a back injury. McKeever skated without a guide in a silver-medal performance in Wednesday's distance race.

"Having Nish (Graham Nishikawa) back today was massive," said the 39-year-old  McKeever, who said Wednesday's he sluggish in the distance race. "We were able to share the work. Once he blew up, he let me go on my own for the final two climbs before leading me into the finish.

"We were making huge time on the field going up the hardest climbs. Without a guide today, I wouldn't have been able to pull out the win."

Sweden's Zebastian Modin skied to the silver in 11:16.8. Oleksandr Kazik of Ukraine was third at 11:31.8.

Natalie Wilkie of Salmon Arm, B.C., finished fourth the women's 2.5 kilometre skate-ski race with a time of 6:46.2.

Norway's Vilde Nilsen was first, followed by Ukrainians Liudmyla Liashenko and Oleksandra Kononova.

The Canadian Press

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