Whitehorse’s Emily Nishikawa was just a few spots from a career best on Sunday – and it’s just the start of the season.
The 25-year-old placed 38th in a field on 76 skiers in the women’s 10-kilometre classic at the FIS World Cup season opener in Ruka, Finland.
“I’m really happy to start my season off this way. This was a great race for me, and I’m really excited to build off this success,” said Nishikawa in an email to the News.
“One of the worlds best skiers, Justina Kowalczyk of Poland, caught up to me just over halfway through the race, and I was able to hang on to her until the end of the race. This was a great experience, and a confidence boost to know that I can race with the best.”
Nishikawa, who was the only Canadian in the field, finished with a time of 28:31.1.
She was just four spots from a personal best World Cup placing. She placed 34th in a 15-kilometre skiathlon at a World Cup event in Alberta in December 2012.
“I was really close to getting into the top 30, and I’m very proud of the way I skied. The field was incredibly deep, as this was the first World Cup of the season.”
The national team skier placed fourth in a10-kilometre FIS race the previous weekend in Gallivare, Sweden. She is scheduled to compete at a second World Cup event this weekend in Lillehammer, Norway.
Nishikawa, who raced for Canada at the Sochi Olympics early this year, was named International Female Athlete of the Year for a third year in a row at the Sport Yukon Awards Night a couple weeks ago in Whitehorse.
Nishikawa was the first Yukon cross-country skier to compete at the Olympics since 1992. She led the Canadian team in two races in Sochi, topping out with a 42nd place finish in the 15-kilometre skiathlon.
She finished the season with two gold and a silver at the Haywood Ski Nationals in March, placing second in aggregate open women.
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