Chris Klebl leads Canucks in sixth, Colette Bourgonje places 13th
SOCHI, Russia, March 9, 2014 /CNW/ - It was a frustrating day for
Canada's Para-Nordic sit skiers while battling the highly technical
course at Sochi's Laura Stadium during the opening day of cross-country
ski races at the Paralympic Winter Games.
Chris Klebl, of Canmore, Alta., appeared destined for the podium in the
early-goings of the men's 15-kilometre race, but faltered in the final
five kilometres where he dropped back into sixth spot. The three-time
Paralympian, and first since moving to Canada from the United States,
clocked-in at 43:06.9 on a tough day the demanding Nordic venue.
"I'll let you know in a couple of days," said a disappointed Klebl when
asked if he was content with the result in the finish area.
Klebl was passed by a flurry of Russians in the final half of the race.
The host nation went on to sweep the men's podium.
Roman Petushkov set the time to beat at 40:51.6. Irek Zaripov
double-poled his way to the silver medal with a time of 41:55.1, while
Aleksandr Davidovich completed the sweep after stopping the clock at
Two other Canadian men battled the challenging conditions. Quebec City's
Sebastien Fortier was the next best Canuck in 18th place. The
27-year-old, two-time Paralympian fought through the difficult
conditions to post a time of 51:43.3. Yves Bourque, of Becancour, Que.,
was 20th at 55:25.4.
"It was a lot more difficult than I expected today. The turns are icy
and it was really hard to go fast in the softer snow today," said
Fortier. "There was a lot of people on the track and it was tough to
choose the right line today. I have had some injuries so I'm not as
strong as I would have liked to be right now, but I'm happy to be fit
enough to race."
Meanwhile, legendary Paralympian, Colette Bourgonje, was the lone
Canadian in the women's 12-kilometre sit ski race. The 10-time
Paralympic medallist (six winter and four summer medals) from Saskatoon
posted a time of 45:50.3 for 13th place.
"It was a very technical course. I had trouble in every corner and it
turns a lot," said the 52-year-old Bourgonje, who has competed in every
Winter Paralympics. "Every day that we have gone out, the conditions
are different so it is very difficult. I will need to make some
adjustments to my equipment for the rest of the week, but I gave it all
I had today."
Lyudmyla Pavlenko, of the Ukraine, put up the time of the day at 38:54.3
to win the women's gold medal. Oksana Masters, of the United States,
was second at 39:16.0, while Russia's Svetlana Konovalova rounded out
the women's podium in third at 39:49.8.
The para-Nordic events continue on Monday in Sochi with the men's and
women's long distance standing and visually impaired cross-country ski
races featuring 10-time Paralympic medallist, Brian McKeever.
For more information and complete results, please visit paralympic.ca.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Media are invited to visit photos.paralympic.ca and create an account
to be able to download high-resolution photos of Canadian Paralympic
athletes at any time, at no cost.
For full information about Team Canada at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic
Games, please visit www.paralympic.ca/team-canada.
SOURCE: Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)
For further information:
Media and Public Relations
Cross Country Canada
T: +7 9384543206
Alison Korn Press Chief, Team Canada
SOCHI Cell: 011-7-938-454-3162