Canadians Wilkie and Cameron win gold medals at the Para Nordic world championships in Sweden

Canadians Wilkie and Cameron win gold medals at the Para Nordic world championships in Sweden

Canadians Natalie Wilkie and Collin Cameron captured gold medals on Saturday at the 2023 Para Nordic world championship event in Österland, Sweden.

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

Wilkie, from Salmon Arm. BC, she won the 7.5 kilometer biathlon event in the women’s standing meet on her 22nd birthday. She missed just one of 10 shots, but took first place with a time of 22 minutes, 43.5 seconds.

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

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

Emotional victory for Cameron

Cameron, from Sudbury, Ontario, also won his first biathlon crown at the men’s sit-ski world championships. He missed just one of 10 shots at range, but posted a winning time of 24:10.0.

“That was so unexpected that I didn’t even know I had won when I crossed the line,” Cameron said. “It’s a great feeling to get my first biathlon win and to hear it at the worlds is amazing.”

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

“It’s been a really difficult start to the year with the sudden passing of my father and a last minute flight home for a couple of days before coming to Sweden,” he said. “Today’s race will always be special to me and I’m proud that I was able to win here for my dad.”

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

Arendz was second in the men’s standing competition. He missed two shots in his final round of shooting 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 made it possible to fight for the title despite some problems on the range.

“That speed gives me the confidence to advance in the remaining races in worlds.”

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