Nishikawa 54th at Finland world cup

Whitehorse's Emily Nishikawa is racing against the best in the world before she returns home for Canada's cross-country ski championships in a couple weeks.

Whitehorse’s Emily Nishikawa is racing against the best in the world before she returns home for Canada’s cross-country ski championships in a couple weeks.

The 23-year-old is racing in a series of three FIS World Cups before the Haywood Ski Nationals.

Nishikawa placed 54th in a 10-kilometre classic on Sunday and 69th in the sprint on Saturday in a FIS World Cup in Lahti, Finland.

“Although I’m still looking for better results, I feel like I’m gaining valuable experience in each race I start,” said Nishikawa in an email to the News. “I am learning a lot about how to race, and the speed I need to be skiing at to compete. I have lots more races coming up here in Oslo and Sweden next weekend, so there are lots of opportunities which I am grateful for!”

Nishikawa and her brother Graham competed at their first Nordic World Ski Championships, in Val di Fiemme, Italy, just over a week ago.

Hindered by illness, Emily’s best result at the worlds in individual races were 57th place finishes in the sprint race on Feb. 21 and the 10-kilometre free on Feb. 26.

She helped the Canadian women’s team reach 12th in the 4×5-kilometre relay before having to scratch because their fourth skier was sick.

Illness affected many of Canada’s skiers at the worlds, including Graham whose best result was 39th in the 15-kilometre free on Feb. 27, just 20 seconds away from cracking the top-30. He also came 48th in the 50-kilometre classic to end the championships.

Graham was the first male skier from the Yukon to qualify for the world championships, and Emily was the first female from the territory to reach the worlds since Olympian Lucy Steele-Masson competed in 1997.

Emily’s previous world cup event was the Alberta World Cup in December.

Emily sped to 34th in the 15-kilometre skiathlon and was the top-Canadian, ahead of 11 others. It was her best-ever finish at a world cup event. (Graham also had a breakout performance, placing 15th in the 30-kilometre skiathlon at the Alberta World Cup.)

Emily is currently in Oslo, Norway preparing for another world cup event. She will then travel to Stockholm, Sweden for another world cup before returning to Canada for the 2013 Haywood Ski Nationals in Whistler, B.C., in a couple weeks.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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