The World Para Nordic Skiing Championships are held every two years after the Paralympic Winter Games and represent the pinnacle of achievement for para Nordic athletes. These athletes, men and women, who are grouped into three classes for competition (sitting, standing, and visually impaired) will compete in four cross country skiing and four biathlon medal events over a period of 10 days. They truly embody the best of Paralympic sport and the Paralympic movement and will guarantee to astonish and excite the community about the possibilities of Paralympic sport.
Prince George will host approximately 140 athletes from 20 different Nations, over 200 coaches and officials, and expects thousands of visitors to attend over the duration of the World Championships. Following less than 12 months after the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang Korea, the 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships will be an exciting follow-up for the 114 contested world championship medals and represents an exciting opportunity for the IPC to continue growing the sport around the world.
Len Apedaile, Head of Technical Control and Officiating with the IPC World Para Nordic Skiing Sport Technical Committee.
Para Nordic Cross-country skiing first appeared at the 1976 Paralympic Winter Games in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. The competition is open to athletes with a physical impairment and blindness/visual impairment.
Depending on functional impairment, a competitor may use a sit-ski, a chair equipped with a pair of skis. Athletes with blindness/visual impairment compete in the event with a sighted guide. Male and female athletes compete in short distance, middle distance and long distance (ranging from 2.5km to 20km) or participate in a team relay using classical or free techniques. Cross-country Skiing is governed by the IPC with co-ordination by the IPC Nordic Skiing Technical Committee following modified rules of the International Ski Federation (FIS) and is practiced by athletes in 24 countries.
Biathlon was introduced in Innsbruck in 1988 for athletes with a physical impairment, and in 1992, athletes with a visual impairment also became eligible to compete.
The event consists of a 7.5km route divided into three 2.5km stages. Between the two stages athletes must hit two targets located at a distance of 10m. Each miss is penalized by an increase in the overall route time. The most important success factor lies in the capability of alternating the skills of physical endurance and shooting accuracy during the competition. Athletes with blindness/visual impairment are assisted by acoustic signals, which depending on signal intensity indicate when the athlete is on target. The sport is governed by the IPC with coordination by the IPC Nordic Skiing Technical Committee following the modified rules of the International Biathlon Union (IBU).
Emily Young was the only Canadian to reach the podium on the last day of competition at the home World Cup. The local skier collected two bronze and one silver in cross-country, and topped off her performance with a bronze in the standing pursuit, her best result in biathlon.
Oksana Masters capped an outstanding biathlon competition with a third consecutive gold on the final day of the 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup in Canmore, Canada. The US Nordic skier won the pursuit race despite missing seven shots on the range, after her fast skiing saw her finish ahead of neutral athletes Irina Guliaeva and Marta Zainullina by less than a minute.
"I definitely started sweating when I started missing more than I wanted to. But I had great skis," Masters said. "Every time I missed on the range, I had a little more motivation to let it out on snow. It worked out."
For Daviet, it was a dream season opener (Canmore WC Dec 2017). The French athlete struck gold in all of his five races, including three in biathlon. Daviet has been picking up the pace in recent seasons and now looks to be in perfect shape to challenge for his first individual medal at the upcoming 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.