Graham Nishikawa has a full set just in time for Christmas.
After winning a silver and a bronze over the last couple weeks at NorAm meets in BC, the local cross-country skier earned a gold Sunday in a 30-kilometre race in Duntroon, Ontario.
Ending in a sprint against and three other competitors, Nishikawa outpaced the others despite pushing the limits on uphill sections of the race.
“We separated ourselves from the rest of the field pretty early on,” said Nishikawa. “I felt pretty strong the whole day and it came down to a sprint at the end and I managed to win.
“My strategy was to push the pace at the front, up the hills to try and tire everybody out. It seemed to work because I still had a bit of energy left at the end in the sprint.”
Finishing third was David Nighbor of North Bay, Ontario, while second went to Alex Harvey from St. Ferreol, Quebec. Harvey and Nishikawa have been neck-and-neck in numerous races so far this season.
“He’s won three races already this season,” said Nishikawa. “We’ve been battling it out pretty close.”
The day prior to the 30-kilometre event, Nishikawa was poised to take another podium spot, racing in a sprint race, but ran into some trouble while nearing the finish line. Firmly in second place, Nishikawa dropped four spots to sixth when he wiped out going down a hill.
“It was a pretty epic crash,” said Nishikawa. “So it’s kind of disappointing but there’s not much you can do about that because it happened all of a sudden.
“I guess a had a bit of extra aggression left over for Sunday’s race.”
Nishikawa will be back competing early in the New Year. In the most important races so far this season, Nishikawa will be racing January 2 in the World Junior Championship trials in Canmore, Alberta. Preferring the distance races, Nishikawa will be focusing on the 30-kilometre race followed by a 15-kilomtre race a few days later.
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