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Mark Arendz had a Valentine’s Day date with the podium, earning a silver-medal at the World Para-Nordic Ski World Championships on Tuesday in Finsterau, Germany.
The Hartsville, P.E.I. native was in the hunt to claim back-to-back World Championship titles, but a lone missed target in his fourth and final round of shooting, dropped him to second in the men’s 15-kilometre individual biathlon event. The two-time Paralympic medallist clocked a silver-medal time of 38:33.7.
“After crossing the finish line, all I could initially think about was the single miss (in shooting), and the fact I let the gold slip through my fingers,” said Arendz. “But I quickly warmed up to the fact that I had won a World Championship silver medal.”
Benjamin Daviet, of France, topped Arendz by winning the gold medal with a time of 38:33.7 (0+0+0+1). Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset locked up the bronze medal with a time of 40:26.7 (1+0+1+0).
The 26-year-old Arendz executed his race tactics to near perfection, with sharp shooting and strong skiing.
“The plan was to shoot clean today. I was capable of that, but there was a single lapse in concentration, and as a result, a miss,” added Arendz. “I likely thought this race would be won on the range. I started a touch slower in the first lap so I had to put in an extra effort to kickstart the body into firing.”
It was the fourth career Para-Nordic World Championship medal for Arendz, and second of the week. He captured his second-career Para-Nordic title earlier this week in the middle distance biathlon event.
“It is one of the toughest fields there has ever been in men’s standing biathlon so to podium again today is proof of the shape I am in, and the excellence our staff prides itself on, and provides me each race,” said Arendz following the medal ceremony.
Career-best performances continued throughout the day for the Canadians.
Derek Zaplotinsky, of Smokey Lake, Alta., had the race of his life in the men’s 15-kilometre sit-ski division. The second-year member of the Canadian squad clocked a fifth-place time of 53:28.1 (0+1+2+1).
Germany’s Martin Fleig won the classification with a time of 44:39.4 (0+0+1+0).
Canada’s Brittany Hudak had a fifth-place finish of her own in the women’s 12.5 kilometre standing race. One miss in her second stop at the range may have cost the Prince Albert, Sask, resident a spot on the podium.
Hudak clocked-in at 44:14.9 (0+1+0+0).
Liudmyla Liashenko, of the Ukraine, won the division with a time of 39:10 (1+0+0+0).
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