January 12 - Ukraine's Oleksandra Kononova was the sole non-Russian gold medallist at Vuokatti on the final day at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Nordic Skiing World Cup, as Russia once again showed why they will be hard to stop at Sochi 2014.
After sweeping the board yesterday, it was more of the same today as Russia secured five of the six titles on offer with Vancouver 2010 gold medallist Kononova the only skier to buck the trend.
Kononova, winning her third gold medal of the week, and teammate Iuliia Batenkova, finished first and second in the women's standing pursuit race ahead of Russia's Alena Kaufman, who leads the rankings heading into the last two World Cups in Germany this month.
Russian Azat Karachurin followed up his short distance win from yesterday by taking the men's standing race finishing in a time of 38min 54.02sec, well clear of Ukraine's biathlon middle distance world champion Ihor Reptyukh, with Norway's Nils-Erik Ulset securing third.
In the absence of World Cup rankings leader and Vancouver 2010 silver medallist Roman Petushkov, short distance world champion Grigory Murygin led the field in the men's 12.5 kilometres sitting event.
Murygin finished clear of compatriot Aliaksandr Davidovich while Japan's Kuzo Kubo picked up another minor medal.
Svetlana Konovalova picked up her first win of the week in her final outing after crossing the line first in the women's 10km sitting event, to deny Germany's Andrea Eskau a hat-trick of wins in Finland.
Eskau had to make do with a bronze medal with Konovalova's teammate Marta Zaynullina securing the silver.
In the visually impaired races, Russian success continued as Vancouver 2010 champions Nikolay Polukhin and Mikhalina Lysova showed that they are ready to add more Paralympic titles to their collections in Sochi in March.
Polukhin and guide Andrey Tokarev followed up two second place finishes earlier in the week with victory in the men's race, leading home Ukrainians Anatolli Kovalevskyi and guide Oleksandr Mukshyn, and Vitaliy Lukyanenko, guided by Borys Babar.
Reigning sprint world champion Lysova and guide Alexey Ivanov bagged their second gold in as many days by taking the 10km title, finishing ahead of teammate Luliia Budaleeva and her guide Tatiana Maltseva, who are currently ranked number one in the world, with Oksana Shyshkova and guide Lada Nesterenko of Ukraine occupying the bronze position.
With Sochi 2014 fast approaching, athletes have two more World Cup stops to make before heading for the Black Sea resort.
Oberstdorf is due to host the next World Cup meeting on Friday (January 17) running through until Sunday (January 19) followed by Oberried from January 23 to 26.
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