Nishikawa sets career best at Switzerland World Cup

From the outset of the season, Whitehorse’s Emily Nishikawa had a specific goal for the World Cup races in Europe: to crack the top 30. She accomplished it over the weekend.

From the outset of the season, Whitehorse’s Emily Nishikawa had a specific goal for the World Cup races in Europe: to crack the top 30.

She accomplished it over the weekend.

Nishikawa raced to 29th in the women’s 10-kilometre classic in a FIS World Cup in Davos, Switzerland, on Saturday.

“I am very happy with that race!” said Nishikawa in an email to the News. “Getting into the top 30 has been a big goal of mine, so it feels really good to achieve that. No Canadian woman has been in the top 30 in a distance race for a few years now, so this result is really good for Canadian skiing.”

The 29th-place finish marks the 25-year-old’s best-ever result on the World Cup circuit. It also earns Nishikawa her first World Cup points and gives her the ranking of 71st on the FIS World Cup circuit.

Nishikawa, who was the only Canadian team skier in the field of 60 skiers, finished the 10-kilometre race in 31:02.7, 2:31.9 behind gold medalist Therese Johaug of Norway.

Nishikawa’s previous best World Cup finish was 34th in a 15-kilometre skiathlon at a World Cup event in Alberta in December 2012. She came close to that three weeks ago, taking 38th in a field on 76 skiers in the women’s 10-kilometre classic at the FIS World Cup season opener in Ruka, Finland.

Just over a week ago Nishikawa took part in her first World Cup mini-tour event, in Lillehammer, Norway. With improved results each stage, she placed 76th in a 1.5-kilometre sprint, 67th in five-kilometre free and 42nd in the 10-kilometre pursuit classic, putting her 46th overall out of 74 skiers.

Nishikawa will race again this Saturday for the final FIS World Cup event of 2014. The event was scheduled to take place in La Clusaz, France, but has been moved to Davos due to a lack of snow.

“So we are staying here for another week,” said Nishikawa. “Next Saturday is a 10-kilometre skate race. I’m really looking forward to that – we will be using the same track as last weekend.”

Nishikawa competed for Canada at the Sochi Games at the start of the year, making her 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 last season with two gold and a silver at the Haywood Ski Nationals in March, placing second in aggregate open women.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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