Mark Arendz Wins Gold in Three-Medal Day for Canucks at Para-Nordic Biathlon World Cup
VUOKATTI, Fin.— Mark Arendz bounced back after a difficult start on the shooting range to win his second-straight biathlon gold medal on Friday at the Para-Nordic World Cup in Vuokatti, Finland.
Missing three out of his first 10 shots on the range, the 32-year-old calmed things down in the back half of the race to take top spot on the 10-kilometre biathlon podium in the standing classification, with a time of 28:30.4.
“That was a tough start to the race,” said the 11-time Paralympic medallist, who had to ski a 150-metre penalty loop for each missed shot.
“I wasn’t as focused as I needed to be on the range. I had some harsh words to myself when I was doing my second and third penalty loops to turn this race around.”
The lanky Canuck from Hartstville, P.E.I. did exactly that, regrouping before his third of four rounds of shooting.
“Before starting the third bout, I took an extra breath and refocused. The second half of the race I brought it back to what I expected,” added Arendz. “I was happy to be able to stop the early slide, refocus and bring back the performance to the level I expect of myself.”
Shooting clean in his final 10 shots and skiing fast, Arendz held off the deep international field in his five laps around the Vuokatti Nordic venue.
Grygorii Vovchynskyi, of the Ukraine, skied to the silver medal with a time of 28:42.4 (2+0+0+0). Benjamin Daviet, of France, clocked a time of 29:36.8 (1+0+1+1).
Britany Hudak, of Prince Albert, Sask., rattled off her third-straight silver-medal performance, and second in biathlon racing, in the women’s 10-kilometre standing competition.
The 29-year-old took advantage of a near perfect day on the range, missing just one of her 20 shots. The experienced three-time Paralympian skied steady to post a time of 32:05.2 (0+1+0+0).
Hudak was sandwiched on the podium between two athletes from the Ukraine. Liudmyla Liashenko held onto the gold medal despite missing three shots, skiing to a time of 31:51.6 (1+1+1+0). Bohdana Konashuk finished with a time of 33:47.7 (1+1+1+2).
Canada’s Christina Picton grabbed her fourth medal of the World Cup opener, posting a second-place time of 43:29.2 in the women’s sit-ski competition. Picton, of Fonthill, Ont., was forced to ski a 100-metre penalty loop twice for two missed shots in her four stops at the range.
Germany’s Anja Wicker rocketed to the gold medal, posting a time of 36:58.4 (2+1+0+2). Korea’s Yunji Kim was third at 43:38.6 (2+0+0+1).
A missed shot in his final round of shooting cost Derek Zaplotinsky, of Smoky Lake, Alta., a spot on the men’s sit-ski podium. The 37-year-old skied to a time of 34:59.0 (0+0+0+1).
Yerbol Khamitov, of Kazakhstan, won the gold with a time of 32:37.0 (2+0+0+0). Taras Rad, of Ukraine, was second at 33:41.6 (0+1+1+0), while his teammate Oleksandr Aleksyk topped Zaplotinsky for the bronze medal, posting a time of 34:59.0.
The opening Para-Nordic World Cup stop of the season continues on Saturday with the team sprint event.