Canada's Para nordic team adds 3 medals at world championship in Sweden

Natalie Wilkie of of Salmon Arm, B.C., seen at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics, won her second medal of the Para nordic world championship opening weekend on Sunday in Östersund, Sweden. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images - image credit)
Natalie Wilkie of of Salmon Arm, B.C., seen at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics, won her second medal of the Para nordic world championship opening weekend on Sunday in Östersund, Sweden. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images - image credit)

The Canadian Para nordic team added three more podium finishes on Sunday to go along with the four medals secured on Saturday in the opening weekend of the 2023 Para nordic world championship in Östersund, Sweden.

Natalie Wilkie raced to a silver medal in the distance classic event. The native of Salmon Arm, B.C., who turned 22 on Saturday, was followed right behind by Brittany Hudak of Prince Albert, Sask.

Collin Cameron of Bracebridge, Ont., grabbed Canada's second silver medal of the day and third overall in the cross-country sit-ski distance race.

On Saturday, Wilkie and Cameron struck gold while Hudak and Mark Arendz of Hartsville, P.E.I., added silver medals.

"Conditions were pretty decent today. It was really cold, but our team had good grip on the hills," Wilkie said. "18 kilometres was definitely long, but today was all about consistency and not going out too hard. I think we nailed it."

The event was won by Vilde Nilsen of Norway, who had a time of 56:22.9 to best Wilkie and Hudak.

"I focused on skiing a smart at a pace I knew I could maintain. With lots of climbing, I knew it was going to build so I tried to keep a steady rhythm. We had great skis and definitely the best cheer squad out there," said the 29-year-old Hudak.

Cameron overcomes cold

"It was a tough one today," said the 34-year-old Cameron, who woke up with a cold and considered not starting.

"I opted to just go for the race and see what happens instead of not starting and risk getting sick anyways. I'm really happy with how I was able to manage my energy for such a long race in really cold conditions and get on the podium again."

Italy's Giuseppe Romele took gold while Pavlo Bal of Ukraine completed the podium.

The competition will be back on Tuesday with the cross-country skate-ski sprint races.