The Keski sprints were cancelled
at the last minute on Friday evening and many disappointed competitors
had to re-schedule their plans to compete on Saturday instead. Perhaps
due to the imminent (or just completed) races or simply the brutally
cold weather, many potential sprinters opted not to race on Saturday
night. XCOttawa members Andrew Wynd and Tom McCarthy decided to race
the sprints in the -20 C conditions, over a relatively flat course in
the Keskinada start/finish area.
Only 13 men competed and hence
the time trial format to determine seeding was altered slightly, and
was composed of a qualifying round with 3 or 4 competitors in each round.
This made the qualifying somewhat different to normal and made for a
Tom skied strongly and qualified
3rd, behind Stefan Kuhn and Jeff Ellis. I was a little further
back in 7th place, but not bad for my notorious lack of sprinting
ability. We were then grouped in 3’s and the heats began, with the
top 2 skiers progressing to the next round.
I managed to qualify 1st
in my heat, beating Jeff Ellis and another junior skier. Tom also progressed
and was looking stronger as the night went on. Next up were the semi-finals
and Tom and I faced off, together with Jeff Ellis (again) and a Czech
Republic skier. The gun went and Tom and Jeff moved to the front, with
the Czech skier and myself vying for 3rd place. I lost the
battle and decided not to push my luck given I was right on Tom’s
poles and a broken piece of equipment was not what we needed. After
chasing hard, I almost caught up to Tom and Jeff, but was eliminated
The final: Tom McCarthy, Gordon Jewitt, Jeff Ellis and Stefan Kuhn. Tom got off to a great start and moved into 2nd place behind Kuhn and was looking strong. As the group came through the stadium for their second lap, Jewitt tried to take the lead, but Tom had his measure and was also making his move into 1st place. Skiing over the top of the “hill”, Tom skied smoothly through a rough section and had the lead coming into the home straight. In a final dash for the gold, Jewitt put the hammer down, but again Tom had his measure and held on to win the 2006 Keskinada Sprints. Well done Tom!
Special thanks to the Australian cheer squad for braving the cold conditions and screaming their lungs out.
Andrew Wynd looking cold.
Tom on the podium.
Photo's courtesy Victoria Beeston