Canada’s Natalie Wilkie and Emily Young won silver and bronze in the standing biathlon race at the Para Nordic Skiing World Cup.
Wilkie, a 20-year-old from Salmon Arm, B.C., took advantage of fast skis and sharp shooting to finish second in 41 minutes 15.5 seconds for her first World Cup biathlon medal.
“This is my first biathlon race in a long time, so I was really nervous coming into it,” said Wilkie, a member of the 2018 Paralympic team. “I have needed to work a lot on shooting consistently and hitting as many targets as I could while skiing fast. I’m super pumped with the result today.”
Athletes ski five 2.5-kilometre loops while making stops at the range between each lap. Wilkie missed just one shot in her third round, going 19 for 20 on the range. Athletes are docked a one-minute penalty for every missed shot.
“In the individual event the focus has to be on shooting slow and consistently. You don’t want those minute penalties so that was the strategy today,” Wilkie said. “I definitely want to start increasing my shooting speed though because I know in the next races that will become more important, but I also just need to continue to be consistent.”
WATCH | Canada’s Natalie Wilkie, Emily Young earn podium finishes:
Young, a 30-year-old from Kelowna, B.C., was stride-for-stride with Wilkie but one miss on her final stop at the range dropped her to third place with a time of 42:13.5.
“It was a surprise today, but if you talked to my coach and I, we have been training really hard and trusting the process of shooting while building over the last four years,” Young said. “It was expected that I can shoot well. It was just about doing it in a race.”
Russia’s Ekaterina Rumyantseva won the gold.
The Canadians have raced to 13 medals over the opening four races at Canmore Nordic Centre this week.
Mark Arendz almost added one more Thursday. The eight-time Paralympic medallist from Hartsville, P.E.I., had one miss on the third round of shooting to finish fourth.
Benjamin Daviet of France won the gold.
The final two biathlon competitions of the Canmore World Cup go this weekend.