The Para Nordic skiing season is set to get underway with the opening International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup event beginning in Vuokatti in Finland tomorrow.
Home skier Sini Pyy will compete in the women’s biathlon and cross-country sitting alongside team-mate Ilkka Tuomisto, who finished fourth in the overall men’s cross-country standing World Cup last season.
"I am very excited, and even more now that the season starts in Finland," said Pyy.
"Vuokatti is a good place to start because we have raced there so often that you can also keep up with your own development across the seasons.
"We have all of our training camps in Vuokatti, so it is almost like racing at home."
Pyy is aiming to improve this season in her favourite distance in biathlon and cross-country, the sprint.
She will also compete in the short distance freestyle and long distance classic cross-country events.
Germany’s Anja Wicker, the individual biathlon silver medallist from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, will possibly be Pyy's closest rival.
Another German skier hoping to get his season off to a good start ahead of his home World Championships is Martin Fleig in the men’s sitting competition.
However, Fleig is up against a strong field including Ukraine’s biathlon and cross-country sprint world champion Maksym Yarovyi.
Andrew Soule of the United States is also a contender having finished on the podium five times at the 2015 World Championships.
In the women’s standing, Ukraine’s Oleksandra Kononova returns as a top three finisher from both biathlon and cross-country World Cups last season.
The reigning sprint classic and long distance freestyle world champion will go up against the Canadian duo of Brittany Hudak and Emily Young.
Tuomisto, meanwhile, will take centre stage for Finland in the men’s standing event, challenging Ukraine’s multiple World Championships medallist Ihor Reptyukh.
Others to feature in both biathlon and cross-country will be France’s Benjamin Daviet and Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset.
Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova, a triple Paralympic biathlon bronze medallist from Sochi 2014, headlines the women’s visually impaired event with guide Vitalii Kazakov.
In the men’s event, Sweden’s sprint freestyle Paralympic silver medallist Zebastian Modin and guide Johannes Andersson are poised to compete.