Graham Nishikawa, right, celebrates with Brian McKeever after winning gold in the visually impaired 10-km race at the 2018 Paralympics. Nishikawa finished third in the senior men’s 15-km classic race at the Canadian World Championship Trials on Jan. 19. (Bob Nishikawa/Submitted)

Yukon cross-country skiers compete at World Cup and Canadian World Championship Trials

Dahria Beatty raced in Estonia while Graham Nishikawa skied in Quebec

It was a busy weekend on the national and international level for a pair of Yukon skiers.

In Europe, Dahria Beatty raced at the FIS World Cup event in Otepaa, Estonia, while in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Graham Nishikawa competed at the Canadian World Championship Trials.

Action in Estonia started with qualification for the classic sprint races on Jan. 19.

On the women’s side, Stina Nilsson of Sweden qualified in first place with a time of three minutes and 7.62 seconds. Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla was second in three minutes and 8.14 seconds with Sweden’s Ida Ingemarsdotter qualifying third in three minutes and 8.94 seconds.

Beatty was the lone Canadian woman in the field, finishing 44th with a time of three minutes and 23.41 seconds.

On the men’s side, Len Valjas was the top Canadian in 43rd with Bob Thompson finishing 51st.

Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo of Norway qualified first, followed by fellow Norwegian Erik Valnes in second. Third went to Russia’s Alexander Bolshunov.

In the women’s finals later on in the day, Falla finished first followed by Russian Natalia Nepryaeva in second and Sweden’s Maja Dahlqvist in third.

Klaebo held on for the win in the men’s finals, with Bolshunov finishing second and Paal Golberg of Norway winning bronze.

On Jan. 20, Beatty raced to a 43rd-place finish in the women’s 10-kilometre classic race with a time of 34 minutes and 36.2 seconds.

First place went to Norway’s Therese Johaug in 29 minutes and 53.7 seconds, followed by Sweden’s Ebba Andersson in second place, with a time of 30 minutes and 42.1 seconds, and Nepryaeva in third with a time of 30 minutes and 54.4 seconds.

In the men’s 15-km classic race on Jan. 20, Finnish skier Iivo Niskanen was first followed by Bolshunov in second and Norway’s Didrik Toenseth in third.

Valjas was 43rd and Thompson was 52nd.

At the Canadian World Championship Trials on Jan. 18, Nishikawa qualified for heats in the senior men’s 1.6-km sprint qualification with a 21st place finish and a time of three minutes and 22.54 seconds.

The top qualifier was Russell Kennedy in three minutes and 8.81 seconds, followed by Andy Shields in three minutes and 10.39 seconds, and Sebastien Boehmler-Dandurand in three minutes and 11.65 seconds.

In the finals, Evan Palmer-Charrette was first, Julien Locke was second and Kennedy was third.

Nishikawa did not start the heats.

The senior men’s 15-km classic race was Jan. 19 and Nishikawa earned a podium finish.

Top spot went to Scott Hill with a time of 36 minutes and 59.7 seconds. Second place was Kennedy in 37 minutes and 8.7 seconds and Nishikawa was third in 37 minutes and 37.7 seconds.

Nishikawa was back in action on Jan. 20 for the senior men’s 19.3-km free race, finishing 12th.

Kennedy took the win with a time of 57 minutes and 12.6 seconds, while Hill was second in 57 minutes and 36.0 seconds, and Palmer-Charrette was third in 58 minutes and 19.6 seconds.

Nishikawa’s 12th-place time was one hour and 54.8 seconds.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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