Canadian and Russian athletes enjoyed the best of the action on the first day of the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup finals in Surnadal, Norway, each winning two cross-country freestyle long distance races apiece on Tuesday (17 March).
In the men's visually impaired race over 20km, Paralympic and world champions Brian McKeever and guide Erik Carleton (48:38.5) topped the podium well ahead of Russia's Stanislav Chokhlaev and guide Evgenii Fatkhullin (53:21.3) in second. Third place went to Ukraine's Anatolii Kovalevskyi, guided by Oleksandr Mukshyn (55:00.5).
Chris Klebl, a gold medallist over 10km at Sochi 2014, secured Canada's second win in the men's sitting over 15km; a race that proved to be the day's closest contest.
The 43-year-old (40:24.0) edged out Russian world champion Aleksandr Davidovich (40:25.3) by just 1.3 seconds in a thrilling finish. Another Russian, Alexey Bychenok (41:21.8) finished third.
On good day for athletes from the Americas, the USA's Oksana Masters maintained her recent run of good form in the women's sitting over 12km. Masters (36:44.90) was in convincing form and beat home favourite Mariann Marthinsen (37:37.7) into second and Russia's Natalia Kocherova (39:14.6) into third. Russia's two wins came through world champions Iuliia Budaleeva and Rushan Minnegulov.
Budaleeva and guide Tatiana Maltseva (43:14.9) were victorious in the women's visually impaired race over 15km and were joined on the podium by teammates Elena Remizova and guide Maksim Pirogov (44:27.5) in third. Second was Ukraine's Oksana Shyshkova and guide Lada Nesterenko (43:57.1).
Minnegulov (49:28.0) claimed the win in the men's standing over 20km beating Ukraine's Ihor Reptyukh (50.41.5) and Norway's Hakon Olsrud (52:07.8) into second and third respectively.
The women's standing over 15km was won by Ukraine's world champion in this event Oleksandra Kononova (44:04.7). Second was Canada's Brittany Hurdak (44:35.8), whilst Kononova's teammate Liudmyla Liashenko (44:49.8) was third.
Competition continues through to 22 March with middle distance classic cross-country, as well as short, pursuit and long distance biathlon.
Live results will be available at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup page and official results at the IPC Nordic Skiing website.