Cross-country skiing siblings Graham and Emily Nishikawa did not have the races they were hoping for at the World Cup at the Callaghan Valley Olympic site in British Columbia over the weekend, but they both see positives in the experience.
“It was a really good experience and I’m happy with it,” said Emily. “But there’s definitely lots of room for improvement. I made a few little mistakes that I wish I didn’t, but for the most part it was a positive experience and I had a lot of fun out there.”
“It was really nice, there were a lot of Canadian fans out,” said Graham.
Racing in a 30-kilometre pursuit Saturday, Graham finished 26th out of a field of roughly 40 world-class skiers.
“I didn’t have a great day, I felt really tired,” said Graham. “I think it was my worst race of the whole year. Unfortunately it happened that day.
“It was still a fun event.”
Emily, racing in the women’s classic sprint, finished 55th out of a field of about 60 competitors. However, being a 16-year-old in a field of older women, Emily is content with the result.
“It’s the World Cup, so it’s the best in the world,” said Emily. “I’m not quite at this level yet, but to be able to start is a big accomplishment. And it’s a really good eye-opener to see where I want to be in a few years from now. I’m still a junior so I think I did well considering how tough the field is.”
As is often the case with sprint races, every second made a difference.
“If I was maybe a couple seconds faster it might have brought me up 10 positions,” said Emily. “It’s really tight. I had a little wobble around a corner, which cost me a few seconds.”
Emily originally didn’t qualify for the event after dropping out of a sprint race because of a fall. But Cross Country Canada decided to let her start when it came to their attention that her qualifying time matched that of the eventual winner.
Furthermore, Emily has been prevented from competing in many races and has been restricted to classic sprints because she is recovering from compartment syndrome, a painful condition caused by pressure buildups in the muscles.
“My legs aren’t 100 per cent right now,” said Emily. “I wouldn’t blame it on my legs, but it’s hard to say.”
Graham will be competing again next week in a NorAm event in Rossland, BC. He intends to compete in a sprint race Saturday and a 15-kilometre classic Sunday.
“I’ll try to get back into it in the next race in Rossland and have another good one,” said Graham.
Emily is undecided if she will compete in Rossland.
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