This year’s International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Nordic World Championships took place in Cable, USA from the 23rd of January until the 1st of February. Cable is a town in Bayfield County, Wisconsin and is the starting point of the American Birkebeiner cross-country skiing race. Wisconsin is famous for it’s cheese and in a genius move by the organisers all the medallists received cheese shaped like Wisconsin along with their medals. Not that any of the biathletes need extra motivation but if they did the cheese would do it! The championships have been held in America twice before but this was the first time in Cable. They began with the opening ceremony on the 23rd of January but racing got underway properly on the 24th with the first of the biathlon disciplines.
The Sprint race was the first challenge for the biathletes. This means a 6km race for the women and 7.5km race for the men. We got underway with the sitting races and the men went first followed by the women. The first race gave us a surprise as a Russian didn’t win! It was in fact Ukraine’s Maksym Yarovyi who shot clear and took the first gold medal of the Championships. Also shooting clear and giving the home crowd something to shout about was America’s Andrew Soule. They were followed home in third by Alexey Bychenok of Russia. Surprisingly Russia’s Roman Petushkov who won 6 gold medals in Sochi could only finish 13th. In the women’s race it was a Russian one-two with Nadezhda Fedorova taking gold and Marta Zaynullina silver. In third was Olympic gold medalist Andrea Eksau of Germany.
The standing races came next and it was back to normal programming with a Russian gold medal from Vladislav Lekomtcev who beat France’s Benjamin Daviet into silver and Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset into bronze. In the women’s race the on form Oleksandra Kononova from the Ukraine won gold and Liudmyia Liashenko made it a double success for Ukraine by taking silver ahead of Maija Jarvela of Finland who won the bronze.
The last races of the day saw the Visually Impaired biathletes take to the course with their guides. Russia were again on top of the podium with Nikolay Polukhin/Andrey Tokarev winning the men’s race and Iuliia Budaleeva/Tatiana Maltseva winning the women’s race. The men’s podium was completed by Anatolii Kovalevski/O Mukshyn of the Ukraine and the other Russian pair Vladimir Udaltcov/ Ruslan Bogachev who won silver and bronze respectively. Silver in the women’s race went to Oksana Shyshkova/Lada Nesterenko of the Ukraine and Germany got their second bronze of the day from Vivian Hosch/F Schillinger.
On Tuesday the biathlon Middle distances races took place for all categories. The distance was 10km for the women and 12.5km for the men. In the men’s race we had a Russian winner but not the one you might have expected. Grigory Murygin took gold and Alexey Bychenok improved his Sprint position by 1 place to take silver with Germany’s Martin Fleig in third. In the women’s race it was a clean sweep for Russian with Maria Iovleva winning gold, Irina Guliaeva silver and Marta Zaynullina bronze.
In the standing race Lekomtcev made it double gold for himself winning ahead of Ulset who got silver to add to his Sprint bronze and Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh who got his first medal in third. The women’s race was another clean sweep but this time by the Ukraine. Kononova and Liashenko finished in the same positions as the Sprint race in gold and silver and their teammate Iryna Bui joined them on the podium by coming in third.
In the VI the men’s race went to Polukhin/Tokarev who repeated their Sprint victory. Silver went to another Russian pair Stanislav Chokhlaev/E Fatkhullin and bronze to guess who more Russians Udaltcov/Bogachev. For the women Budaleeva/Maltseva took their second biathlon gold followed by Shyshkova/Nesterenko who took their second silver and in third place was Russian pair Elena Remizova/Maksim Priogov.
Friday saw the final biathlon races of the Championships and it was the turn of the Long distance. Long translates into 12.5km for the women and 15km for the men. By now you will have realised that Russia are pretty good at Para-biathlon and again swept the podium in the women’s sitting event. This time is was Zaynullina with gold, Konovalova with silver and Kocherova with bronze. In the men’s event home boy Andy Soule prevented another Russian clean sweep by taking his second biathlon silver. Russian’s Bychenok and Murygin took gold and bronze.
In the women’s standing Oleksandra Kononova made it an incredible 3 out of 3 gold in biathlon and overall won 6 golds including her cross country medals. An outstanding performance from a quite brilliant athlete. Her teammate Liashenko must be sick of her though as she again lost out on the win but gained another silver medal. Finland’s Jarvela got her second medal getting the bronze. The men’s race excitingly had three different nationalities on the podium. Reptyukh took gold, Lekomtcev silver and Daviet bronze.
The final events were the VI and surprise surprise Polukhin/Tokarev got their third gold and completed an excellent championships for the Russian and his guide. Chokhlaev/Fatkhullin came in second and Iurii Utkin/ Vitalii Kazakov of the Ukraine in third. As for the women it was more gold for Russia in the shape of Budaleeva/Maltseva,more silver for Russia from Remizova/Pirogov and more medals for the Ukraine too from Olga Prylutska/ Borys Babar.
What a great World Championships we had! Some incredible performances especially by the unbeaten Oleksandra Kononova and Nikolay Polukhin and Andrey Tokarev. The Russian’s and Ukrainians dominated proceeding as expected but there were some who managed to break their domination. Andy Soule had a dream home championships getting 2 silver medals, Benjamin Daviet also takes home 2 medals and Maija Jarvela got on the podium twice. I really hope all these guys like cheese as they have a lot of it to eat. It has been an historic IPC World Championships in Wisconsin with some amazing races and great individual performances. It really was an Electric Cable!
There were also cross country races and you can find full results for cross country and biathlon here:
For more information about para-nordic sports see:
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