Ukraine’s Taras Rad won the men’s sitting category at the Para Nordic Skiing World Cup in Finland – but missed out on overall honours ©IPC

Ukraine athletes continued to dominate the biathlon competition in Vuokatti in Finland during the final races in the Para Nordic Skiing World Cup season before the Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang. 

But missing the first World Cup in Canmore in Canada meant that overall titles remained beyond the Ukrainian competitors, despite their excellence over the course of the weekend.

In many cases, overall victory went to Russian athletes skiing under a neutral banner.

In the men’s sitting category, for instance, Ukrainian teenager Taras Rad, second overall last season followed up yesterday's second place with victory today.

Rad - a triple winner at the last World Cup in Oberreid in Germany - overtook his rivals, including neutral athlete Ivan Golubkov, the eventual runner-up, in the final kilometres and being the only athlete in his category to shoot clean.

The achievement was not enough for Rad to make it into the top-three overall standings however.

Golubkov claimed the overall biathlon prize, followed by South Korea’s Eui Hyun Sin.

Neutral athlete Aleksandr Davidovich finished third.

The men’s standing category saw a new overall winner crowned, the absence of France’s world champion Benjamin Daviet meaning he missed out on winning the coveted crystal globe.

Neutral athlete Vladislav Lekomtsev secured that prize after winning today’s distance race to claim the overall globe by 32 points.

Daviet’s dominance at earlier World Cups meant he still secured second place overall, followed by neutral athlete Aleksandr Pronkov.

Despite finishing out of the overall top-three, Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh completed an impressive performance in Vuokatti, adding long distance bronze to his victory from the sprint event.

Ukraine’s Vitaliy Lukyanenko and guide Ivan Marchyshak ended Vuokatti with a double win in the men’s vision impaired.

Reigning world champion Liudmyla Liashenko led a Ukrainian clean sweep in the women’s standing class at the Para Nordic Skiing World Cup in Finland ©IPC
Reigning world champion Liudmyla Liashenko led a Ukrainian clean sweep in the women’s standing class at the Para Nordic Skiing World Cup in Finland ©IPC

They beat fellow Ukrainians Anatolii Kovalevskyi and guide Oleksandr Mukshyn in the distance race.

Lukyanenko’s outstanding performance in Finland was enough to earn him third place in the overall standings behind neutral athletes Stanislav Chokhlaev and Nikolai Polukhin.

Today’s competition proved key in what had been a close fight in the women’s sitting rankings.

Neutral athletes Irina Guliaeva, Marta Zainullina and Natalia Kocherova claimed the gold, silver and bronze medals respectively in the final distance race.

Guliaeva’s victory gave her the point she needed to secure the overall biathlon World Cup title, leaving Zainullina second overall.

Oksana Masters of the United States, not competing in Vuokatti, dropped down to third overall.

In the women’s standing class there was a clean sweep for Ukraine today.

Reigning world champion Liudmyla Liashenko took the gold, just 15 seconds ahead of compatriots Yuliia Batenkova-Bauman and Iryna Bui respectively.

The win for Liashenko came too late to impact on the overall standing though, with neutral athlete Ekaterina Rumyantseva claiming the crystal globe.

There was more Sunday success for Ukraine in the women’s vision impaired, with Oksana Shyshkova and guide Vitaliy Kazakov securing a second straight win.

The victory saw Shyshkova claim second place in the overall standings behind neutral athlete Mikhanlina Lysova.

Ukrainians Olha Prylutsha and guide Borys Babar; and Natalia Rubanovska guided by Lada Nesterenko finished second and third respectively.

The finals are due continue tomorrow with cross-country middle distance races.