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Canadians Mark Arends and Natalie Wilkie take gold on home snow at the Paralympic biathlon worlds

Canadians Mark Arends and Natalie Wilkie take gold on home snow at the Paralympic biathlon worlds

Eleven-time Paralympic medalist Mark Arends of Hartsville, Prince Edward Island, served as Canada's flag bearer at Tuesday night's opening ceremony at the World Para Biathlon Championships in Prince George, British Columbia (Northern Canada – Photo Credit)

Canada kicked off its inaugural Para-biathlon World Championships with a pair of gold medals on Wednesday in Prince George, British Columbia.

Paralympians Mark Arends and Natalie Wilkie won the men's and women's 7.5km stand-up sprint at the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club.

The 33-year-old Arends clocked 21 minutes and 5.5 seconds to finish ahead of Ukraine's Serhiy Romanyuk (21:26) and Germany's Marco Mayer (21:58), who beat Arends for Paralympic silver in 2022.

Arends, an 11-time Paralympic medalist, is unbeaten this season. The Harrisville, Prince Edward Island, native served as Canada's flag bearer at Tuesday night's opening ceremony.

Wilkie of Salmon Arm, British Columbia, tied with Ukraine's Lyudmila Lyashenko for first place on the women's sprint podium after both athletes clocked 24:11.3. Prince Albert, Sask., native Brittany Hudak took the bronze with a time of 24:51.7.

In other Canadian results, Derek Zablotinsky of Smoky Lake, Alta., finished one place short of the podium in the men's 7.5-kilometre seated sprint.

Bracebridge, Ontario's Colin Cameron is also competing in Prince George.

The Paralympic biathlon worlds continue through Sunday. The World Championships will be followed by the World Cup Finals at the same venue from March 13-17.

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