Nishikawas getting stronger at world championship

Whitehorse skiers Graham and Emily Nishikawa are feeling better after being under the weather for the first week of the 2013 Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Whitehorse skiers Graham and Emily Nishikawa are feeling better after being under the weather for the first week of the 2013 Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Their improved health is reflected by their performances over the last few days.

Graham placed 39th out of 95 skiers in the men’s 15-kilometre individual start skate-ski race on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old opened the championships with 52nd in the men’s 30-kilometre skiathlon last Saturday.

“I was happy with Wednesday’s race,” said Graham in an email to the News. “I felt much better and was close to my goal of top-30 (by) 20 seconds. The course was really hard but the atmosphere and fans were great.”

The Nishikawas aren’t the only one dealing with illness. Canada’s Brittany Webster was sidelined with illness Thursday, leaving Canada’s relay team a skier short for the women’s 4×5-kilometre relay. However, the remaining three, including Emily, raced without her for the heck of it.

“I’m feeling much better now,” said Emily in an email to the News. “Today’s race was the 4×5-kilometre relay. Unfortunately our fourth skier, Brittany Webster, woke up sick this morning so we knew we would have to pull out after the third leg.

“Even though we didn’t finish, Daria (Gaiazova) Perianne (Jones) and I all had solid races. Had we finished it would have been one of our best relay results in a long time. So it was a pretty positive day.”

In her previous races, Emily placed 57th in the sprint race on Feb. 21 and 57th in the 10-kilomere free on Tuesday. She did not finish in the women’s 15-kilometre skiathlon on Saturday.

“Being here at world champs has been an incredible experience,” said Emily. “Even though my results haven’t been what I was hoping for, I have learned a lot and am very inspired.”

Graham is the first male skier from the Yukon to qualify for the world championships, and Emily, 23, is the first female from the territory to reach the worlds since Olympian Lucy Steele-Masson competed in 1997.

Emily will be back in action for a 30-kilometre classic on Saturday and Graham will be in a 50-kilometre classic on Sunday.

Quebec’s Alex Harvey made history in the men’s classic sprint race on Feb. 21. Harvey won bronze for the first-ever medal won by a Canadian male in an individual race, and just the third medal ever for Canada at the world championships.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com