France, Japan and Russia were the strongest-performing nations at the 2018 INAS World Alpine and Nordic Skiing Championships in Zakopane ©Inas

France, Japan and Russia were the strongest-performing nations at the 2018 International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (INAS) World Alpine and Nordic Skiing Championships in Zakopane, winning the majority of the medals during the four days of competition.

Russia opened their medal account in the Polish resort on Tuesday (February 27) in the cross-country skiing.

The country monopolised the women’s five kilometres freestyle II1 podium and took a further two spots in the men’s 10km freestyle II1.

In the women’s event, Elena Shchukina opened her Championships with victory in 18 min 39.0sec.

Victoria Prokofeva finished second in 19:22.9 and Ekaterina Babaeva came third in 20:20.1.

The Russian trio then swapped podium places the following day in the sprint classic.

Prokofeva finished first in 3:59.9, Babaeva came second in 3:45.8 and Shchukina third in 3:40.4.

Another Russian, Ivan Volegov, claimed gold in the men’s 10km in a time of 28:57.7.

Patryk Jakiela handed hosts Poland their first medal of the competition with silver in 29:20.1.

Volegov’s compatriot Aleksandr Sorokin completed the top three in 29:42.17.

France’s Clement Colomby secured gold in the men’s 10km freestyle II2 and sprint classic II2.

The sprints for II1 athletes took place on Wednesday (February 28) and delivered more gold for Russia.

Volegov was quickest over the 1.2km course, clocking a time of 3:06.01.

Defending champion Hans Teearu of Estonia finished second in 2:51.3 andIvan Martiushev grabbed another medal for Russia with bronze in 2:52.2.

Poland were the defending champions in the men’s 3×2.5km relay but proved to be no match for the Russians on Thursday (March 1).

Maksim Skurikhin, Volegov and Aleksandr Charushnikov put on an impressive display to triumph in in 23:38.3.

The Polish trio of Jakiela and Michal and Jerzy Krzanowsky took the silver in 25:23.9.

France’s Yann Guebay, Dorian Traversaz and Gael Solomon were third in 25:59.7.

Babaeva and Prokofeva kept up their 100 per cent podium record in the women’s 3×2.5km relay, winning in 21:46.1.

The Japanese duo of Rena Aoyagi and Kei Nakazawa were second in 26:57.6.

In the mixed relay, Shchukina, Martiushev and Sorokin secured gold for Russia in 28:58.0.

They were followed by France’s Lea Thiroux, Stephane Kelkal and Solomon in 29.47.3.

Aoyagi also competed in the mixed relay for Japan, taking bronze alongside Kohei Abe and Yutaro Murakoshi in 32:00.3.

Rounding off the action were today's long-distance mass start races.

In the women’s 10km freestyle II1, Shchukina topped the podium once again and brought her gold medal tally to two with a time of 38:27.2.

Sweden’s Kristin Bjorfeldt finished second in 42:30.2, while France’s Thiroux came third in 46:49.7.

Home favourite Jakiela retained his title in the men’s 15km freestyle II1 in 44:59.8.

Teearu was second in 45:28.8 and Charushnikov third in 45:48.9.

Japan and France dominated the slalom events, which started on Tuesday. 

France’s Melania De Bonna successfully defended her title in the women’s II1, posting two leading runs for a time of 1:20.10.

Turkey’s Kader Yavus Ayse finished second in 1:24.28, while Czech Republic’s Denisa Macurova came third in 1:24.65.

De Bonna retained her second title of the week by winning the giant slalom II1 in 1:16.97.

Macurova joined her on the podium once again, this time taking silver in 1:17.80.

Japan’s Mariko Yuge rounded out the top three in 1:20.21.

De Bonna then sealed her third gold medal of the week in the women’s super-G II1.

She went quickest in 38.00, with Yuge 0.99 seconds behind.

Macurova was third in 39.64.

Yoshihide Kimura led a Japanese one-two in the men’s slalom II1, retaining his title from 2017 with a time of 1:06.17.

Team-mate Waturu Hiranoi bagged the silver medal in 1:10.63, while France’s Antoine Maure came third in 1:10.98.

Kimura stepped onto the top spot of the podium once again after winning the men’s giant slalom II1 in 1:13.11.

Compatriot Yusuke Kizuke was second in 1:15.15 and Austria’s Alexander Haissl sealed bronze in 1:15.22.

Kimura also proved unstoppable in the men’s super-G II1 today, sweeping all three world titles on offer in Zakopane.

He skied a time of 36.58 and led an-all Japanese podium.

Hiranoi Wataru was second in 37.21 and Kizuke third in 37.95.

The last day of competition also featured the men’s super-G II2, in which victory was claimed by another Japanese skier, Hiroki Miyoshi, in 41.12.

France’s Paul Riche was second in 42.67.