HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
For the second day in a row, Emily Nishikawa found herself waving a Yukon flag on a podium at the Canada Winter Games in Windsor, Nova Scotia.
The Yukon cross-country skier won a bronze medal in the female 1,000-metre on Tuesday, adding to a gold won in the 7.5-kilometre free the previous day.
In the final, Nishikawa zoomed into second before dropping to third on the final uphill section of the course.
“It was kind of tricky conditions; there was a lot of deep snow in there,” said the 21-year-old. “I think I could have done a little bit better, but I’m still really happy with the way things worked out today.”
Despite the continued flow of hardware for Nishikawa, she does not consider her sprint to be in top-form due to a shoulder injury in the fall and an increased focus on longer distance races.
“This year I haven’t been as strong in sprints as I normally am – I think has to do with my injury,” said Nishikawa. “I really enjoy sprinting, but I’m getting better at distance (races) now, so I wouldn’t call myself a specialist.”
Though the only Yukoner in the A final, two of her teammates reached the B final.
Yukon’s Dahria Beatty raced to second in the B final for eighth overall and teammate Janelle Greer, held up by a competitor who fell in front of her, was fourth in the B final for 10th overall. Teammates Kendra Murray and Heidi Brook were both eliminated in the quarterfinals.
With less than two months experience, Yukon’s John Austring reached the semifinal of the sit-ski sprint, eventually falling into sixth.
“It’s really good. He only started to sit-ski in early January,” said Yukon head coach Alain Masson. “So it’s extremely exciting for the future and I think he’s having a great experience at the Games.”
Sit-ski teammate Ramesh Ferris, Yukon’s only other parasport participant, failed to advance past qualification.
Yukon’s five male skiers, all of whom finished outside of the top-10 on Monday, were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the sprint.
“We had a few young skiers, John Parry and Colin Abbott, who qualified really well for that,” said Masson. “They are not really sprinters, so it was nice to see they had a nice qualifications. They didn’t move on beyond the quarterfinal, but it’s a good indication for the classic race on Thursday – they are both better at classic.”
In Monday’s race, not a single female skier from the Yukon placed outside of the top half of the field, with Beatty coming seventh, Greer 11th, Murray 18th and Brook 26th.
Yukon’s top male on Monday was David Greer in 11th, followed by Abbott in 15th, Parry in 16th and Knute Johnsgaard in 22nd.
Nishikawa, who is competing in her third Canada Games, won a bronze in 2007 in the 4×3.75-kilometre relay with teammates Janelle Greer and Brook. In the weekend before the start of the Games in Halifax, Nishikawa won all three races at the Eastern Canadian Championships in Cantley, Quebec, for gold.
The cross-country competition will continue Thursday with female’s 10-kilometre classic and a 15-kilometre classic for the males. Also Thursday is a 5-kilometre race in sit-ski.
“I’ve always been stronger in classic, but they are fairly equal now,” said Nishikawa. “I think a 10-kilometre classic is a great race for me, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
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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