HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
Thanks to Emily Nishikawa, there is not a podium tier that has not been occupied by a Yukoner at the Canada Winter Games in Windsor, Nova Scotia.
The 21-year-old cross-country skier won her third medal in as many races on Thursday, this time taking silver in the female 10-kilometre classic.
“I’m super happy,” said Nishikawa. “It was a fun race today – a 10-kilometre mass start, so it was kind of crazy at the beginning. I got out to the front and led for most of the race. I tried to make a break near the finish, but Alysson (Marshall) from BC held on to me and she had a little more speed on the last hill to the finish. It was good and close, but I didn’t have enough today.
“But I’m super happy to be on the podium again.”
Nishikawa, who is making her third appearance at the Games, began with a gold on Monday in the 7.5-kilometre free and zoomed to bronze in the 1,000-metre sprint the following day.
In yesterday’s race, Nishikawa was just two seconds behind the gold medalist with a time of 29 minutes, 34.6 seconds.
“It was such a beautiful day out, hot and sunny, and perfect for racing,” said Nishikawa. “It was fast and icy and a little sugary on the climbs – powdery. But, yeah, it was a fast course.”
Improving from 11th to 10th to sixth on Thursday, teammate Janelle Greer had her best race yet while Yukon’s Dahria Beatty matched her best with her second seventh-place finish on the week. Also in the race were Yukoners Kendra Murray and Heidi Brook, coming 19th and 25th respectably.
On the men’s side, competing in a 15-kilometre classic, Yukon saw its first top-10 results with David Greer skiing to 8th.
“I went to Europe a couple weeks ago and I got a bit sick, and I never did quite get 100 per cent better,” said Greer. “So I haven’t been racing super fast. Today I felt a little bit better, not quite as sick. I’m not in super great shape yet, but I’m slowly starting to come back.
“Today I’m better, but it’s still not the result I was hoping for.”
Not far behind David, who was the only Yukoner to win gold in the 2007 Games, was Ray Sabo in 11th and John Parry in 14th. Teammates Colin Abbott finished 24th and Knute Johnsgaard came 25th.
In the longest sit-ski race yet, running five-kilometres, Yukon’s Ramesh Ferris had his best race yet, finishing seventh, three spots up from teammate John Austring.
The improvement in the standings in the lengthy race shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, considering Ferris – Yukon’s equivalent to Terry Fox – rode his hand-bike across Canada to raise money for polio a couple years ago. Both Ferris and Austring, who took sixth in Tuesday’s 800-metre sprint, are the first two para-athletes to represent the Yukon at the Winter Games.
The cross-country event will draw to a close on Saturday with a pair of relay races.
Although Team Yukon has not drawn up the teams, there may be a small reunion, reminiscent of the 2007 Games when Nishikawa, along with Janelle Greer and Brook won bronze in the 4×3.75-kilometre relay.
“I’m pretty sure it’ll be Janelle, Dahria and myself, and either Kendra or Heidi in the last spot,” said Nishikawa. “I’m super excited – relays are always so much fun.
“It should be a great day and I hope to get on the podium again. We have a strong group of girls from the Yukon.”
Yukon’s first medals, two golds won last week, came in target shooting. Pelly Crossing’s Danielle Marcotte won a gold in the women’s individual air pistol on Thursday, breaking three Canada Games records with her scores. A couple days earlier Marcotte, and her younger sister Kyley, won gold in the women’s team air pistol.
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