Canadian Para-Nordic Team Adds Three Medals to World Cup Finals Haul
PARK CITY, Utah—Three members of Canada’s Para Nordic Team shot perfect while fighting their way onto the biathlon pursuit podium at the World Cup Finals on Tuesday.
Canada’s top-two Para biathlon aces – Mark Arendz (Hartsville, P.E.I.) and Brittany Hudak (Prince Albert, Sask.) – both claimed silver medals. Canadian sit skier, Derek Zaplotinsky (Smoky Lake, Alta.) won his first career bronze in biathlon.
Four days removed from his 33rd birthday, Mark Arendz teed up a silver-medal performance in the men’s five-kilometre standing race. The lanky Canuck knocked down all 10 shots in his two stops on the range and finished with a time of 10:57.9.
“I’m very happy to wrap up the biathlon season with today’s race. My first priority was to shoot clean which I’m happy I achieved,” said Arendz. “This format challenges many of my strength and weaknesses. I didn’t feel all that great in the qualifier. I refocused before the final and skied a strong race, solid shooting but couldn’t make up the smaller gap over the eventual winner.”
Germany’s Marco Maier won the classification 10:51.8. Alexandr Gerlits, of Kazakhstan, was also perfect in shooting while clocking a third-place time of 11:08.5.
“It has been an incredible season. Starting the season, not sure I would even travel to the first World Cup, then to achieve what I have,” added Arendz. “It is my best biathlon season in my career.”
Brittany Hudak matched Arendz’s performance in the women’s standing classification. A winner of two biathlon medals at the Paralympics, Hudak was second with a time of 12:36.4.
“Today was a really fun day, and I’m super happy with my race,” said Hudak. “This was my first ever time doing a sprint pursuit biathlon, and it was so exciting. I felt solid skiing, and managed to shoot clean so I’m happy with that.”
Bohdana Konashuk, of Ukraine, claimed the gold despite missing one shot. Konashuk posted a time of 12:31.6. Liudmyla Liashenko, also of the Ukraine, was third at 13:15.3 (1+3).
The 37-year-old Derek Zaplotinsky skied to his first Para Nordic biathlon World Cup podium, winning the bronze medal in the men’s sit-ski race.
Zaplotinsky, who also scored his first cross-country podium in Soldier Hollow this past week, shot clean for a third-place time of 10:22.2.
“It feels really good to finally get that biathlon medal,” said Zaplotinsky. “It was really fun race format and the first time I have ever done a sprint pursuit.”
Ukraine’s Taras Rad hit all 10 targets to win the classification with a time of 9:46.6. Aaron Pike, of the United States, was second at 10:08.3 (1+0).
Christina Picton (Fonthill, Ont.) was the only other Canadian to suit up on Tuesday. Picton finished just off the podium in fourth place with a time of 14:36.3 (0+1).
The Para-Nordic World Cup resumes on Thursday at Soldier Hollow with the five-kilometre skate-ski races.
Complete Para-Nordic World Cup Results: