Pierre Grall-Johnson Lone Canadian to Qualify for Sprint Heats at Under-23 Nordic World Ski Championships
LYGNA, Nor.— Pierre Grall-Johnson sprinted to 28th spot on Saturday at the Nordic World Ski Championships, in Lygna, Norway.
Ottawa’s Grall-Johnson was the lone Canadian to qualify for the head-to-head heats in the free-technique race after posting the 25th-fastest time on the 1.2-kilometre track. His day, however, came to disappointing end in the opening quarter-final round of the heats.
“I was happy to have qualified but that was not my main focus today so overall, I’m not super happy with the day,” said Grall-Johnson.
The 22-year-old, who was 17th in the World Championship sprint race last year, got off to a great start in his heat, but struggled to gain position on the first hill, and wasn’t able to charge to the front of the six-man pack.
“I was really happy with how fast I got out of the gates, but then at the top of the first climb I got boxed out, strung out, and had no way of getting back on (to the pack). It wasn’t the best finish for me today either, but I know there are more opportunities to come,” added Grall-Johnson.
The top-two athletes in each heat, along with the next two fastest times overall, advance to the next round. Grall-Johnson crossed the finish line sixth in his heat.
Switzerland’s Valerio Grond sprinted to the top of the men’s podium ahead of Russia’s Denis Filimonov, who finished second, and Norway’s Magnus Haabrekke in the bronze medal position.
Other Canadian results included Sam Hendry (Canmore, Alta.) in 56th and Joe Davies (Pemberton, B.C.) placing 65th in the men’s race. Anna Pryce (Calgary) was 35th. Beth Granstrom (Revelstoke, B.C.) placed 44th; Anna Parent (Canmore, Alta.) was 47th; and Quebec’s Bronwyn Williams in 52nd spot.
Sweden’s Moa Hansson was crowned women’s sprint champion. Poland’s Monika Skinder edged out Russia’s Nataliya Mekryukova for the silver medal.
The final day of the Nordic World Junior and Under-23 Ski Championships will feature the junior sprint, and U23 Mixed team relay on Sunday.
Complete Results: https://bit.ly/3BHkZyX