Canadians Wilkie and Cameron win gold medals at the World Para Nordic Championships in Sweden

Canadians Wilkie and Cameron win gold medals at the World Para Nordic Championships in Sweden

Canadians Natalie Wilkie and Collin Cameron won gold medals at the 2023 Para-Nordic World Championships in Österland, Sweden on Saturday.

Brittany Hudak of Prince Albert, Sask., and Mark Arendz of Hartsville, PEI also both took silver medals for the Canadian team.

Wilkie by Salmon Arm. BC, on her 22nd birthday, won the women’s 7.5km standing biathlon race. She missed just one of 10 shots but finished first with a time of 22 minutes and 43.5 seconds.

“A great birthday present,” she said. “I woke up this morning hoping to be on the podium today and get the gold medal, so it was a special way to celebrate.”

Hudak finished behind Wilkie. She was perfect on the shooting range, posting a time of 23:14.2.

Emotional victory for Cameron

Cameron, from Sudbury, Ontario, also took his first Biathlon World Championships crown in the men’s sit ski event. He missed just one of 10 shots on the range but posted a winning time of 24:10.0.

“It was so unexpected that I didn’t even know I’d won when I crossed the finish line,” said Cameron. “It’s such a great feeling to win my first biathlon and to hear it at world championships is incredible.”

It was an emotional win for Cameron, who lives in Bracebridge, Ontario, as his father recently passed away.

“It was a really tough start to the year with my father’s sudden death and the last minute flight home for a few days before I came to Sweden,” he said. “Today’s race will always be something special for me and I’m proud that I was able to win for my father.”

Derek Zaplotinsky of Smoky Lake, Alta., finished sixth in 25:53.5.

Arendz finished second in men’s standing. He missed two shots in his final standing stage and posted a time of 20:03.1, just three seconds behind winner Marco Maier of Germany.

“It was a very close finish,” said the Canadian. “The speed I had on the last lap allowed me to fight for the title despite some problems on the track.

“This speed gives me the confidence for the remaining races around worlds.”

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