February 27 - Brian McKeever and his guide Erik Carleton continued their excellent form at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Nordic Skiing World Championships as the Canadian seven-time Paralympic champion secured his second gold of the event in Sollefteå today.
The 33-year-old came from second position after the first lap of the men's visually impaired 20 kilometre freestyle race and picked up the pace to lead after 10km – a place he maintained until the finish to clock a winning time of 51min 18.9sec, ahead of Russia's Nikolay Polukhin and guide Andrey Tokarev.
The 30-year-old Russian, the silver medallist in the event at both the 2011 IPC World Championships and the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics, finished with the silver in 52:16.8 and was joined on the podium by compatriot Stanislav Chokhlaev and guide Maksim Pirogov, who crossed the finish line 36 seconds behind Polukhin for bronze.
More medals were to come for Russia in the form of Vladimir Kononov and Rushan Minnegulov in the men's standing 20km freestyle race.
The 41-year-old Vancouver 2010 bronze medallist Kononov finished the race in a time of 52:50.6, more than two minutes ahead of teammate Minnegulov, who clocked 55:07.1, to stand atop of the podium, while Ukrainian Ihor Reptyukh claimed the bronze - the first international medal for the 18-year-old - after clocking a time of 55:55.8.
Surprisingly, the defending world champion, Kirill Mikhaylov also from Russia, finished in a disappointing seventh place.
Iuliia Batenkova became the new world champion in the women's standing category after the Ukrainian claimed silver in the discipline at the 2011 World Championships and Vancouver 2010 Paralympics.
The 29-year-old finally got her first gold medal at a major international competition, posting a top time of 46:23.1, just eight seconds ahead of the defending world champion, her compatriot Oleksandra Kononova, who had to settle for silver in 46:31.0.
Paralympic champion in the event, Russia's Anna Milenina, won the bronze medal, finishing in a time of 48:01.5.
It was another Russian podium sweep in the women's visually impaired category, with Elena Remizova and guide Natalia Yakimova finishing with gold in 44:12.9; Iulia Budaleva and her guide Tatiana Maltseva taking silver in 44:38.7; and Mikhailina Lysova and her guide Alexey Ivanov securing the bronze.
After the third day of competition, Russia comfortably leads the standings with a total of 19 medals, of which seven are gold.
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