Rarely were the conditions calm at Sapporo’s Shirahatayama Open Stadium with periods of poor visibility, high wind and sub-zero temperatures as Casey Wright, Ben Sim and Jackson Bursill battled through.
Vancouver Olympian Ben Sim had competed at the same Sapporo venue during the 2007 World Championships and he knew what to expect in today’s 15km men’s event.
“It was exactly the same as ten years ago,” Sim said. “Sapporo has big blizzards except now I’m 31-years-old so it’s even harder.
Sim proved he can still go the distance, completing the course in a time of 48:12.2 for 13th position overall.
Fellow Aussie Jacskon Bursill finished in a time of 50:17.6 for 16th position.
“I had a great time out there,” Bursill said. “Conditions were really tough but it’s good when it’s like that because you get into the hurt box and you just keep grinding away.”
Bursill said the thick snow slowed the field but didn’t deter the competition.
“I had a good little battle with some Chinese athletes. I’d overtake them on the hills and they’d get me on the flats. Unfortunately, they did get me in the end.
“It was still really great. I love it when you have people to work off in the races. I had a good experience,” he said.
Australia’s lone female competitor Casey Wright was still on a high after her third place in the women’s 1.4km sprint but she remainied positive throughout today’s 10km freestyle.
“I had a lot of fun and a few battles and was able to ski with some faster people but it wasn’t one of my better performances,” Wright said.
The 22-year old was 15th overall after finishing in a time of 34:07.7.
“The snow’s definitely a bit slower than what we had yesterday in the sprint so that just makes those hills a little more painful.”
The Aussies have a rest day before returning to the snow on Thursday for the women’s 5km classic and men’s 10km classic.
Full results and live streaming of the Asian Winter Games is available on the Sapporo 17 website.