Natalie Wilkie Sweden Usa Canada Norway Kazakhstan county Canadian cross-country sprint biathlon Natalie Wilkie Sweden Usa Canada Norway Kazakhstan county Canadian

Canada's Natalie Wilkie races to gold at Para nordic world championship in Sweden

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Canada's Natalie Wilkie sprinted to her first Para nordic world championship title in cross-country skiing with a victory in the women's standing skate-ski sprint race on Tuesday in Österland, Sweden.

The seven-time Paralympic medallist posted the top qualifying time in the heats before she won both of her rounds on the one-kilometre sprint course. "Claiming the gold medal today was extra special," said Wilkie, of Salmon Arm, B.C.

Wilkie held off Norway's Vilde Nilsen for the top spot on the podium while Sydney Petersen, of the United States, claimed bronze. "In the final, the strategy was to hold on as long as I can," said the 22-year-old. "In the final downhill, I was planning to slingshot out of the corner and maintain the lead until the end which I'm happy I was able to do." Wilkie kicked off the 2023 world championship by winning her first biathlon title on her 22nd birthday Saturday before she claimed silver in the long-distance classic-ski race on Sunday.

Wilkie also has two silver medals from the 2019 world championships, which brings her career total to five. "I definitely feel different at these world championships," Wilkie added. "I am now heading into these races knowing that I always have a good chance of winning, so I do have a lot of confidence." Kazakhstan's Yerbol Khamitov won the men's sit-ski race.

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