Mark Arendz, para-nordic skier, earns silver medal at IPC Asian Cup
Paralympian cites able-bodied races for success
The experience of competing in several able-bodied races this season has translated into much success for Mark Arendz on the international para-nordic circuit.
The Hartsville, P.E.I., native earned his second silver medal of the week on Sunday, finishing in a time of 18 minutes, 52.8 seconds in the men's 7.5-kilometre standing biathlon sprint at the IPC Asian Cup in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"For my first biathlon race in a para field this year, I'm very pleased with how things went," the 25-year-old, who was second in a cross country sprint earlier this week, told Cross Country Canada.
Having that experience has made the transition from able-bodied to para races seamless, which made a big difference today.- Canada's Mark Arendz after finishing 2nd in Sunday's 7.5km standing biathlon sprint
"I skied well, but a miss in my first bout meant I was chasing and couldn't quite get back into the lead after that."
In December, Arendz competed in the open men's division at a Calforex Cup event in Canmore, Alta., and was second in the 15km mass start, five seconds off the pace. He had good speed throughout the race and was 18-for-20 in the range shooting with the air rifle.
"Having that experience has made the transition from able-bodied to para races seamless," he said, "which made a big difference today.
"We skied a flatter version of the course that will be used in 2018 [at the Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang] but today's course made you work for every second you wanted to gain on the field."
Russia's Aleksandr Pronkov held off a hard-charging Arendz for gold, clocking 18:32.4, while teammate Ivan Kodlozerov rounded out the podium in 19:03.2.
Arendz won a bronze and silver at the 2014 Sochi Games to become the first Canadian win two medals at a Paralympics.
The IPC Asian Cup concludes Monday with middle-distance biathlon races.