Despite falling and failing to finish her NorAm semifinal race last week in Canmore, Alberta, Cross-Country Canada has decided to allow Emily Nishikawa to compete in a classic sprint at the World Cup Friday at the Callaghan Valley Olympic site in BC.
The national body decided to allow Nishikawa into the women’s classic sprint event when it came to their attention that her qualifying time for last week’s race matched that of the eventual winner.
“I was right in there with the senior women, so I’m eligible to start this Friday,” said Nishikawa. “It’s really exciting and I’m really looking forward to it—I think it’ll be a very good experience.”
Nishikawa has missed most of the season because of compartment syndrome, a painful condition caused by pressure buildups in the muscles. However, Nishikawa’s injury is not aggravated by the classic technique.
“I can classic without too much pain, whereas I can’t skate,” said Nishikawa. “So I’ve been putting my focus on classic technique, and I think I’ve improved a lot.
“It’s tough to have an injury but I’ve made the best of it.”
The disappointment surrounding last week’s fall was heightened by the fact that Nishikawa was leading the pack when she went down.
“It happened so fast,” said Nishikawa. “We were going down a hill and the next thing I knew I was down—pretty hard.
“In a sprint race you can’t afford to fall because the race is so short. So by the time I got up it was too late to catch up with the pack.
“I cracked my tailbone pretty hard and hurt my back a little.”
Nishikawa is not the only Yukoner in at the Cup—in fact, she’s not even the only one from her family.
After winning a gold last week in the open men’s 30-kilometre pursuit Monday and a silver in the 15-kilometre skate the day before, Nishikawa’s brother Graham has earned a spot in another 30-kilometre pursuit Saturday.
“I’m really excited and nervous at the same time because it’s the World Cup,” said Graham. “These are the best guys in the world and the conditions are great here in Callaghan Valley.
“Yeah, I’m excited more than anything.”
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