Abbott leads Canada at U23 world championship

Whitehorse's Colin Abbott led Canada in a race at the FIS Nordic Junior & U23 World Ski Championships on Thursday in Liberec, Czech Republic.

Whitehorse’s Colin Abbott led Canada in a race at the FIS Nordic Junior & U23 World Ski Championships on Thursday in Liberec, Czech Republic.

The 22-year-old Team Canada skier placed 63rd out of 84 starters in the 15-kilometre individual-start skate race for the country’s best result for U23 men.

“This isn’t my strongest discipline but I was still hoping to have a better result today,” said Abbott in an email to the News. “After starting out at a comfortable pace I reached my physical threshold on the second of four laps. It was a tough effort mentally to hold myself at that limit all the way to the finish.”

Abbott finished with a time of 40 minutes and 15.5 seconds, 4:31 behind the winner. Canadian Patrick Stewart-Jones finished 71st while two other teammates are sidelined with an illness.

“I was missing the top gear that I needed to have a good race today,” said Abbott. “All in all it was a pretty average day for me, and that just isn’t good enough against the best in the world.

“While I wasn’t happy with how my body felt today, I was happy with how I raced mentally. I skied smart and efficient and did what I could with what my body gave me today.”

Abbott placed 47th out of 72 skiers in the 1.6-kilometre sprint to start the championship on Tuesday. His last race of the worlds is the 30-kilometre skiathlon on Saturday.

“I’m still confident I can put together a good race for the skiathlon on Saturday,” said Abbott. “I’m hoping my body will recover from today and come back stronger two days from now.”

Abbott is the only Yukon skier at the junior/U23 world championships this year, down from five last year.

In addition to being a member of the Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club, Abbott is a member of the Yukon Elite Squad, a five-person Whitehorse-based team currently in its first season competing.

Abbott qualified for Team Canada with strong performances at a Haywood NorAm in Thunder Bay, Ontario, at the start of the month. He placed third for U23 skiers in the two distance races and sixth in the sprint at the NorAm.

Abbott is no stranger to international competition, having represented Canada at the Junior World Orienteering Championships three times between 2008 and 2010.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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