Canada’s McKeever skies to gold at Para-Nordic World Cup event


Brian Mckeever of Canada competes to win his gold medal in the cross country men's 10km, free, visually impaired event at the 2014 Winter Paralympic, Sunday, March 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (Dmitry Lovetsky/CP/AP)

ALTENBERG, Germany — Brian McKeever overcame slushy conditions to won a gold medal Wednesday at a Para-Nordic World Cup stop.

The 40-year-old from Canmore, Alta., teamed with guide Graham Nishikawa to win a six-kilometre race in the visually impaired category in a time of 14 minutes 28.9 seconds.

The race saw athletes ski 10 times around a 570-metre slushy loop that had rocks, dirt and grass poking through the snow.

McKeever, looking to rebound from a second-place finish in a sprint race earlier in the week, finished on the podium ahead of Yury Holub of Belarus and Zebastian Modin of Sweden.

“The boys skied much better today under very marginal conditions,” said Canadian para-nordic team coach Robin McKeever. “Graham did an excellent job of getting them through traffic, so they didn’t have an accident, and the course suited them very well.”

Collin Cameron of Sudbury, Ont., also won his second medal of the World Cup stop, finishing third in a five-kilometre sit-ski race in 14:41.8.

“I’m definitely a bit surprised today. This is my first podium in a non-sprint cross-country ski race,” Cameron said.

Russia’s Ivan Golubkov won in 13:26.7, followed by Daniel Cnossen of the United States in 14:32.9.

Derek Zaplotinsky, of Smoky Lake, Alta., was eighth.

Natalie Wilkie, of Salmon Arm, B.C., placed fourth in the women’s eight-kilometre standing race with a time of 16:36.1. Brittany Hudak, of Prince Albert, Sask., was seventh (16:59.6), while North Vancouver’s Emily Young skied to ninth (17:27.1).

Norway’s Vilde Nilsen won with a time of 15:41.4.

Mark Arendz of Springton, P.E.I., was eighth in the men’s standing classification after completing the course with a time of 14:31.9.

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