Nishikawas hampered by sickness at world championships

Whitehorse siblings Graham and Emily Nishikawa are excited to represent Canada at the 2013 Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Whitehorse siblings Graham and Emily Nishikawa are excited to represent Canada at the 2013 Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

But so far the two have been under the weather and are hoping for stronger results as they convalesce.

Getting a race under his belt has helped put Graham on the road to recovery, he said.

“It definitely was not my best race, but it was a great experience to start my first world championship,” said Graham. “I was just getting over a cold, so I didn’t feel great. But I needed a good race to get me going and I feel a lot better now. I’m looking forward to Wednesday’s 15-kilometre race that I’m focusing on. I’m looking for a much better result.”

Graham raced to 52nd out of 90 skiers in the men’s 30-kilometre skiathlon – 15 kilometres of classic followed by 15 kilometres of skate skiing – on Saturday. It was his first race of the championship.

“I was with the pack until halfway. With about 15 kilometres, on the last hill, I got dropped,” said Graham. “In these type of races, once you get dropped from the main field, it’s pretty much game over.”

After placing 57th out of 101 skiers in a sprint race on Thursday, Emily did not finish in the women’s 15-kilometre skiathlon on Saturday.

“We both got sick the week before, so it’s good to do a race to get going and I feel a lot better,” said Graham. “Emily was having problems with her breathing. She got checked out by a doctor and it’s all good, so she’ll be starting the 10-kilometre on Tuesday.

“It was a bit of a rough go for her, but the doctors have given her the green light to go. So I’m sure she’ll have a better race on Tuesday.”

Graham, 29, 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.

“It’s been amazing. There are so many fans out on the course and it’s super loud,” said Graham. “It’s the best guys in the world. It’s been a great experience for sure.

“Even though I didn’t do super well, it’s been a great experience.”

Canadian teammate Alex Harvey of Saint-Ferreol, Que., made history in the men’s classic sprint race on Thursday.

Harvey placed third for a bronze, which is 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.

“We’ve gotten one medal so far – a bronze medal – and the team is pretty pumped up,” said Graham.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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