|McKeever Collects 3rd Gold|
Brian McKeever, of Calgary, is unstoppable, as he collected yet a third gold medal yesterday morning, winning the short distance biathlon race for visually impaired athletes at the World Disabled Ski Championships held in Baiersbronn, Germany.
After winning the long distance biathlon event last Saturday and the short distance cross-country ski race the following day, twenty-three year old McKeever, who suffers from a degenerative eye ailment known as Stargaards disease, easily won today’s 7.5 km race in 24:08.2. Even with three misses at the range, McKeever, who is guided by older brother Robin McKeever, overtook second place by more than a minute. The silver medal went to Vitaliy Lukyanenko of the Ukraine, making it his second silver medal of these Championships. Lukyanenko’s final time of 25:19.8 was 27 seconds ahead of third place German racer Wilhelm Brem. Brem, a strong shooter, won the gold medal at last year’s Paralympic Games in the biathlon event.
In the men’s sit-ski biathlon event, Jean-Thomas Boily of Mt. Orford, Quebec, started his first race of the Championships after struggling with some sickness earlier last week. With a single miss, Boily clocked a final time of 32:22.7 for the 7.5 km race and finished 21st. The winner for this event was Austrian Oliver Anthofer, a four-time Winter Paralympian who medalled twice in Salt Lake City. Anthofer’s final time was 25:24.9. Second place was close behind and went to Ukraine’s Yuriy Kostyuk in 25:30.6. The bronze medal went to Russia’s Sergey Shilov, who has four medals from the Paralympics last year. Shilov finished in 25:40.3.
On the women’s side, Hinton, Alberta native Shauna Maria Whyte started the 7.5 km biathlon event, but did not finish. Whyte currently has a silver medal from Saturday’s biathlon long distance race. The winner of the 7.5 km women’s race was Ukraine’s Olena Yurkowka, who finished in 30:50.1. Yurkowka currently has 2 gold and 1 silver medal from these Championships. Second place went to Russia’s Irina Poliakova in 30:58.8, followed by Lyudmyla Pavlenko in 32:48.8 for the bronze. Whyte’s teammate Colette Bourgonje, of Saskatoon, who came in 6th in Sunday’s short distance sit-ski event, did not race today.
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