February 26 - German Andrea Eskau claimed the first gold medal for her nation at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Nordic Skiing World Championships in Sollefteå today just months after winning two golds in handcycling at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The 41-year-old (pictured top), who also has a cycling gold medal from Beijing 2008 as well as a bronze and silver in biathlon and cross country skiing from Vancouver 2010, won the women's sitting cross-country 12-kilometre race in a time of 38min 50.0sec ahead of Norway's Mariann Marthinsen, who added a silver medal to her bronze from the sprint race with a time of 39:16.3, and Ukrainian Lyudmyla Pavlenko, who finished in 40:17.0.
"Andrea is very strong, and I know there is still quite a way for me to go to catch her," Marthinsen said of Eskau.
"I did my best today and tried to reach her, but it was not possible.
"My next race is the 5km.
"I now have a bronze and a silver medal, so maybe it will be gold next time."
Meanwhile, the men's sitting long distance race was dominated by Russia's Roman Petushkov, gold-medal winner of the sprint race on the previous day, who led throughout to put more than 47 seconds between him and second-place finisher Enzo Masiello of Italy.
Masiello, bronze medallist at the 2011 World Championships and the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games over the 15km distance, and Japan's Kozo Kubo, the IPC's Athlete of the Month for January, were within just a few seconds throughout the race, with the stronger finish for Masiello.
"I am very happy, this is my first medal at a World Championships in a cross-country skiing race," Kubo, who finished in a time of 42:02.0, said after the race.
"I will train hard to also win a medal in Sochi next year."
Russia's Irek Zaripov who was expected to be the strongest competitor for Petushkov in the day's race finished in a disappointing 18th place.
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