The Para-Nordic National Ski Team (PNST) recently capped off its most successful season ever by winning nine medals at the IPC World Cup Finals in Vuokatti Finland - contributing to a record 21 medals earned on the IPC World Cup circuit in 2011-12. I’m most proud of the fact that our wins came from all four of our World Cup Team athletes” said Head coach Robin McKeever, “We had a plan to train, compete and win as a cohesive team and it worked”.
There was a time, not so long ago, when the team relied mainly on multi-Paralympic medal winner Brian McKeever to bring home most of the team’s medals. Not so anymore…with Mark Arendz now established as one of the best Para-Nordic biathletes in the world, the addition of sit-skier Chris Klebl from the USA and the renewed commitment and focus of Colette Bourgonje, the PNST now has four athletes all capable of winning medals at major international competitions on a regular basis.
- Brian McKeever with guide Erik Carleton, contributed six medals (4 gold, 2 silver) to the team total in the visually impaired cross-country category. Brian finished 3rd in the overall standings while competing in only 60 per cent of the World Cup events. He also qualified for and raced in the able-bodied OPA/Scand Cup tour in Europe.
- Mark Arendz earned six medals (2 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze) in the Standing Men Biathlon category finishing 2nd overall in the IPC Biathlon World Cup standings.
- Chris Klebl was consistent in winning six medals (3 silver, 3 bronze) in the highly competitive men’s sit-ski category. He finished 4th in the overall standings despite missing the first set of races as he recovered from a broken leg at the beginning of the season.
- Colette Bourgonje continued to perform at the highest level earning three bronze medals in the women’s sit-ski category and finishing 4th in the overall standings.
“The team’s success this season was a true team effort from all the athletes, coaches, technical and support staff” said Para-Nordic program director Mike Edwards.
A big thank you goes out from the team to everyone who contributed to a successful season!
The PNST are taking some well deserved time off but the next season will be starting up again soon with a full schedule of training and competitions planned for the 2012-13 season as they work towards the ultimate goal of Paralympic medal success at Sochi in 2014.