Oksana Masters of the United States was among a trio of athletes to secure their third cross-country victories of the season as the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Para Nordic Skiing World Cup event in Vuokatti in Finland concluded today.
Ukrainian-born Masters, who represented the United States in Para-cycling at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, won the short distance free technique women’s sitting race in a time of 8min 15.8sec.
Belarusian Lidziya Hrafeyeva and Norway’s Birgit Skarstein were second and third respectively.
“This 2.5km is so tricky because it’s not a sprint, but you can’t go the same pace as the 5km - you’ve got to go faster, so it hurts but I love it,” Masters said.
“I feel pretty good that I’m basically not right where I left off last season, but I’m getting there and hopefully when Finsterau [2017 World Championships] comes round I’ll be in a good prime.”
Maksym Yarovyi of the Ukraine also wrapped up his third cross-country success as he reigned supreme in the men’s sitting race.
The Ukrainian completed the course in 14:28.5, with Trygve Steiner Larsen of Norway coming home in second place.
South Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin rounded off the podium in third.
Oksana Shyshkova of the Ukraine was the third athlete to seal a hat-trick as she secured gold in the women’s visually impaired.
Shyshkova led home a clean sweep from the Ukrainian team, who have started the Para Nordic Skiing World Cup season in blistering form, with a time of 6:35.3 along with guide Vitalii Kazakov.
Olga Prylutska, guided by Borys Babar, took silver in front of Natalia Rubanovska and guide Lada Nesterenko.
Ukraine also monopolised the podium in the women’s standing competition, won by Liudmyla Liashenko, who clocked 6:31.4.
Oleksandra Kononova was second and Iuliia Batenkova did enough for third.
Zebastian Modin of Sweden, who clinched bronze at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games, picked up his second consecutive win in the men’s visually impaired.
The Swedish skier, guided by Johannes Andersson, finished in 11:16.3 as France’s Thomas Clarion and guide Antoine Bollet claimed silver.
Belarusian Yury Holub marked his World Cup debut with a bronze medal, along with guide Dzmitry Budzilovich.
Frenchman Benjamin Daviet, a double World Championships medallist, recorded his first victory of the season in the men’s standing race in 11:00.00.
He managed to beat Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh, who won the long distance 24 hours before, and Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset, who ended with silver and bronze respectively.
The next World Cup event is due to take place in Western Center in the Ukraine from January 13 to 20.