-Canada’s McKeever grabs gold, Whyte takes bronze-
Fort Kent, Maine-Two Canadian athletes, Brian McKeever and Shauna Maria Whyte, kicked-off the opening day of cross-country ski events with two podium performances at the Disabled Nordic Skiing World Championships in Fort Kent, Maine on Tuesday.
Three categories were being contested in the first day of the weeklong competition. Short and middle distance events were held for men and women in both the cross-country and sit-ski divisions.
McKeever, 25, of Canmore, Alta., won the 10-kilometre skate-ski race, crossing the finish line for with a time of 26 minutes 52.2 seconds to claim the gold medal. Today’s performance marks McKeever’s seventh gold medal to date at the disabled world championships.
“We had it in our minds to start smooth and really pace ourselves,” said McKeever, whose guide, and brother, Robin accompanied him through today’s race. “We were tied coming around the first lap, so we just tried to race as smart as we could for the second lap, and managed to put 30 seconds between us and the second place team so it worked out quite well.”
The silver medal in the men’s competition went to Germany’s Frank HÃ¶fle, with guide Johannes Wachlin, after posting a time of 27:25.7, while Russia’s Irek Mannanov rounded out the podium, taking the bronze medal with guide Rustam Pavlov at 27:27.0.
The Canadian women also enjoyed a successful day on the cross-country course, with Shauna Maria Whyte, of Hinton, Alta., powering her way into third to take home the bronze medal.
Whyte, 37, who competes on the Disabled World Cup circuit in both the biathlon and cross-country disciplines, crossed the finish line in the women’s five-kilometre sit-ski event with a time of 19:05.7.
“It was a beautiful race for me, everything went so smoothly,” said Whyte. “I was in the lead during the top half of the race, but then caught an edge and fell in the second lap. Despite this, I was able to come away with the bronze medal and I am just very, very happy.”
Whyte prevented a podium sweep for the Ukraine as Lyudmyla Pavlenko crossing the finish line first for the gold medal with a time of 18:39.6, while Olena Yurkovska finished in second at 18:59.6.
Colette Bourgonje was the only other competitor to wear the maple leaf in the women’s five-kilometre sit-ski. Bourgonje, of Saskatoon, finished the day in the top-10, crossing the finish line in sixth-place with a time of 19:53.7.
Two other Canucks competed on opening day. Jean-Thomas Boily of Orford, Que. ended the day in 24th place in the men’s 10-kilometre sit-ski after crossing the finish line with a time of 38:34.0, while Jimmy Pelettier of Quebec City skied into 26th spot (41:51.6).
Competition will continue on Thursday, with the short distance, classical events.
Complete results when available: www.ipcnordicski2005.org
Top-Five Men’s Results (10 kilometre free technique):
1. Brian McKeever, Canmore, Alta., CAN, 26:52.2; 2. Frank HÃ¶fle, GER, 27:25.3; 3. Irek Mannanov, RUS, 27:27.0; 4. Brem Wilhelm, GER, 27:33.9; 5. Valerie Kuptchinksi, RUS, 27:58.7.
Top-Five Men’s Results (10 kilometre sit-ski):
1. Robert Wator, POL, 32:38.0; 2. Yuriy Kostyuk, UKR, 32:50.3; 3. Sergey Shilov, RUS, 32:51.3; 4. Oliver Anthofer, AUT, 32:5.3; 5. Wieslaw Fiedor, POL, 33:13.6.
Canadian Results (10 kilometre sit-ski):
24. Jean-Thomas Boily, Orford, Que., 38:34.0; 26. Jimmy Pelettier, Quebec City, 41:51.6.
Top-Six Women’s Results (Five kilometre sit-ski):
1.Lyudmyla Pavlenko, UKR, 18:39.6; 2. Olena Yurkovska, UKR, 18:59.6; 3. Shauna Maria Whyte, Hinton, Alta., CAN, 19:05.7; 4. Svitlana Tryfonova, UKR, 19:09.6; 5. Irina Poliakova, RUS, 19:17.3; 6. Colette Bourgonje, Saskatoon, CAN, 19:53.7.
Source: Cross Country Canada