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Nishikawa starts season in Sweden

If any Yukoner is going to compete at the Olympic Games in February, there's a good chance it will be Whitehorse's Graham Nishikawa.

If any Yukoner is going to compete at the Olympic Games in February, there’s a good chance it will be Whitehorse’s Graham Nishikawa.

With the Vancouver Games in his sights, Nishikawa, 25, started the cross-country ski season with promising results in the Scandinavian Cup race last weekend in Bruksvallarna, Sweden.

In a field of 142 skiers, Nishikawa was the third Canadian over the finish line and 15th overall in a 15-kilometre skate event.

“I am very pleased with my race as the first race of the season is not usually my best and I am pleased to be within one-minute of some World Cup winners,” wrote Nishikawa in an e-mail to theNews. “I started the race slowly - after five kilometres I was in 25th position - but then I was able to pick up the pace and move up to 15th place.”

Not only was Nishikawa the third Canadian over the line, he was just one second behind Quebec’s Alex Harvey.

Up next is Nishikawa’s first European World Cup event of the season. It takes place this weekend in Beitostolen, Norway. On Saturday Nishikawa will race in another 15-kilometre skate, followed by a 4x10 relay the next day.

“It was a very good preparation for next week’s World Cups in Norway - we are driving there tomorrow,” wrote Nishikawa.

Nishikawa qualified for the World Cup events last season, winning the NorAm Canada Cup race circuit. He finished last season in March with a bronze in the 10-kilometre classic at the US National Cross Country Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The Olympic trials for Team Canada will take place in December.

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