Gold medallist and crowd favourite Jessie Diggins (USA) won her third gold medal of the QRC Winter Games Cross-Country series in today’s Classic Mass Start presented by Forsyth Barr.
Diggins said today’s race saw the athletes tackle tricky conditions on the tough course, with early fog giving way to sunshine at Snow Farm NZ.
“It was pretty exciting, especially with those downhills in the fog! It was just another really awesome chance to get out there, put my bib on, put my sparkles on and go race.”
Yukari Tanaka (JPN) claimed her second silver of the series, with Diggins’ teammate Julia Kern (USA) winning bronze.
Miyazawa Hiroyuki of Japan won his second gold of the series, despite feeling heavy after a demanding schedule of training and racing. Hiroyuki considered today’s course a challenging one, “Maybe the hardest in the world, I think!”
Team Japan again swept the podium with Tanaka Masato finishing 2nd, and Fujinoki Hikaru in 3rdplace.
Australia’s Katerina Paul was presented with her gold medal for the Australia New Zealand Continental Cup, comprising eight FIS events between July and September. Paul was thrilled with the win, which boosts her funding prior to her upcoming European training towards the Davos World Cup.
Wanaka Junior Cross-Country athlete Campbell Wright has been on form throughout the series. The 17-year old started competing two years ago, and with another two years racing as a junior he is one to watch.
Wright competed in all three events, and impressed the racing community in yesterday’s Freestyle Interval race with a gutsy 7thplace among international competition.
“Skate this season for me has been pretty good because I’m a biathlete… I just had a real good feeling in the first couple of laps and on the last lap I just went faster, and as I came across the line I was pretty stoked with how I went,” said Wright.
Chief of Competition Alastair Smaill said Wright’s performance as a young junior in the Freestyle Interval Start was “outrageously good”.
“What we look for is the FIS points, and anything under 100 FIS points is an international standard performance. He got 87 FIS points so he’s well under it… the distance behind the winner and the stand in the field meant that that’s actually an outstanding performance of international class.”
“That’s either the best, or close to the best ever, by a NZ junior. So, those sort of performances are pretty rare – and he’s pretty stoked.”