A couple more performances like over the weekend and Whitehorse skier Emily Nishikawa is Europe-bound.
The 23-year-old won three medals in three races at the Haywood NorAm last week in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The NorAm event was the first half of Canada’s selection process for its senior world championship team.
“My training is paying off,” said Nishikawa. “I’ve been doing consistent hard work for a number of years now and the results are starting to come and hopefully I’ll have some international results as well.”
Nishikawa won gold in the senior women 15-kilometre classic mass start on Thursday, a bronze in the sprint event on Saturday and another gold in the senior women’s 10-kilometre free on Sunday. Sunday’s was Nishikawa’s 11th career NorAm gold medal.
This season is shaping up to be Nishikawa’s best yet. She gave a breakout performance at the Alberta World Cup on Dec. 16, placing 34th in a 15-kilometre race for her highest result at a World Cup event. She also won gold in a 10-kilometre race in her previous NorAm on Dec. 9.
“So far it’s got off to a great start,” said Nishikawa. “I’m really happy with how this weekend went and I’m looking forward to the next set of races in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, if all goes well, I’ll head over to Europe for World Cup racing over there.”
Emily was not the only Nishikawa to climb the podium last week.
Her brother, Graham, won gold in the senior men’s 30-kilometre classic mass start on Thursday. He then took fourth in the Saturday’s sprint and fourth in the senior men’s 15-kilometre free on Sunday.
The NorAm races were also the trials for the Junior and U23 World Championship later this month in Liberec, Czech Republic. Canadian teams will be announced later this week.
Whitehorse’s Dahria Beatty, who is a member of the junior national team, will be hoping to make her third appearance at the junior world championships.
Skiing in the junior women division, Beatty claimed fourth in the 10-kilometre classic mass start Thursday, fifth in Saturday’s sprint and sixth in the 10-kilometre free Sunday.
Whitehorse’s David Greer, who is a member of the Yukon Elite Squad (Y.E.S.), cracked the top-10 with an eighth-place finish in senior men on Thursday and Sunday.
“The Thunder Bay races were pretty mediocre for me,” said Greer in an email to the News. “The races weren’t bad, I just know I’m capable of more.”
Other Y.E.S. skiers made the top-20 in senior men. Colin Abbott placed 14th Thursday, 12th Saturday and 16th Sunday; Knute Johnsgaard placed 16th Thursday, 10th Saturday and 19th Sunday; John Parry placed 17th Thursday, 14th Saturday and 24th Sunday.
Y.E.S.‘s only junior skier, Fabian Brook, was 29th Thursday, 23rd Saturday, and 40th Sunday in junior men’s races. (Johnsgaard, Abbott and Brook are eligible for the junior/U23 worlds.)
Whitehorse was also represented by Lee Hawkings who took 15th in the sprints for senior men and Logan Potter who snagged 43rd in the same race.
The second half of the senior world trials will be in Duntroon, Ontario, Jan. 26-27.
“I have to perform well again at the next set of races in Duntroon and then hopefully world senior championships,” said Emily.
Both Nishikawas are members of Canada’s senior development team.
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