Dahria Beatty, seen here during competition in 2016, won bronze in the women’s free sprint at the Opa Cup in Pokljuka Slovenia. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Dahria Beatty wins bronze at Opa Cup cross-country skiing race in Slovenia

Whitehorse’s Emily Nishikawa was 10th in the 10-km race

It was a strong start to the racing season for Whitehorse’s Dahria Beatty and Emily Nishikawa at the Opa Cup event in Pokljuka, Slovenia, on Dec. 7 and 8.

Beatty had the best result of the weekend, winning bronze in the women’s free sprint on Dec. 7.

After qualifying in 17th position, Beatty won her quarter-final heat to advance to the semifinal. Beatty placed third in her semi-final, behind Katja Visnar and Vesna Fabjan of Slovenia.

In the final, Beatty finished third with a time of two minutes and 33.15 seconds. She was again behind Visnar, who won the event, and Fabjan, who placed second. Visnar’s winning time was two minutes and 32.78 seconds.

Nishikawa made her European debut for the season on Dec. 8, finishing 10th in the women’s 10-kilometre free race with a time of 26 minutes and 24.7 seconds.

Elisa Brocard of Italy won the event in a time of 25 minutes and 56.5 seconds, with fellow Italian Sara Pellegrini in second and Flora Dolci of France in third.

Reached via email after the event, Beatty said the event was a final preparation for the World Cup in Davos, Switzerland, this weekend.

“The goal was to make it through to the final so that I could get four competitive rounds of racing in to prepare my body for the World Cup racing,” said Beatty. “I was very happy with how the heats went and I got stronger each round, which is what I was hoping for.”

Nishikawa said the race was a way to find out what type of form she’s in before the World Cup.

“It’s nice to have a chance to test yourself before the World Cup where the mistakes are really magnified,” said Nishikawa. “Pokljuka was a fun way to start the season and it was nice to know that I am close to top form, but also there are a few areas I can improve to be at my best.”

Both skiers said the results help so early in the year.

“Having a strong result gives a confidence boost heading into the World Cup,” said Nishikawa. “Also, it gives a reminder of the important things to focus on to have a strong performance next weekend.”

Beatty echoed that sentiment.

“The positive feelings I had in the Opa Cup are a good start and tell me that my race shape is close to where I want it to be,” said Beatty. “It is always nice to be able to step onto an international podium, especially early in the season its a good confidence boost for the coming races.”

The Davos World Cup event is Dec. 14 and 15 in Davos, Switzerland. Racing starts with free sprint qualifying and finals on Dec. 14 and concludes with women’s 10-km and men’s 15-km free races on Dec. 15.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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