Salmon Arm cross-country skier Natalie Wilkie remains ranked among the most talented para-nordic skiers in the world, winning a pair of silver medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships.
Held in Prince George in 2019, the championships bring together the top skiers in their class from across the globe to compete in team and individual events. A majority of these competitors took part in the 2018 Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, including Wilkie and her relay teammates Colin Cameron, Emily Young and Mark Arendz.
In the mixed relay event, Wilkie and Team Canada finished in the silver medal spot, just behind the gold-medal team from the Ukraine. Team Canada put up a combined time of 27:46, just 27 seconds behind the Ukrainian team. Wilkie claimed one of the fastest individual times on the team during the relay, matching the average time of the Ukraine skiers.
(Canadian Paralympic Committee)
In the individual 15-kilometre cross-country event, Wilkie also claimed a silver medal in a race that saw her go head-to-head with Norway’s Vilde Nilsen, a familiar competitor from the 2018 Paralympic Games. Wilkie’s first two legs of the race had her sitting in the fourth-place spot, but an explosive push in the final half brought her close to the front of the pack, falling in just behind Nilsen for the silver-medal finish.
In total, Team Canada claimed 10 medals in World Para Nordic Championships events. In addition to Wilkie’s individual silver medal and the silver for the relay team, Brian McKeever claimed a gold medal, Mark Arendz had five additional medals and Derek Zaplotinsky added three of his own.
Next up for Wilkie is the final round of the Teck BC Championships, which will be hosted in Salmon Arm at the Larch Hills Ski Area from March 1-3.