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Home News Two great first days of competition in Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Two great first days of competition in Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Championships 14 January 2024
Jonatan Ståhl (SWE) - Umeå University wins the sprint event at the WUSOC in Lenzerheide
Jonatan Ståhl (SWE) - Umeå University wins the sprint event at the WUSOC in Lenzerheide. Photo courtesy WUSOC/Martin Jörg

The 2024 FISU World University Championship Ski Orienteering is half way through. The middle distance and sprint relay still to come.

Two down and two to go: the beautiful Swiss resort of Lantsch/Lenz/Lenzerheide enjoyed a well-deserved rest day this Sunday 14 January, before hosting the middle distance event on Monday and finally the sprint relay on Tuesday.

The last centimeters of the sprint race for this Japanese student-athlete.

The first two days of competition were a total success for the organizers, but also for the home supporters, who happily cheered along with typical cowbells, as Switzerland took six of the twelve medals awarded so far.

First, the sprint

On the opening day, the Swede Jonatan Ståhl, who studies at Umeå University,s won the sprint event in front of the Swiss Nicola Müller (University of Bern) and the current world ranked number two Aapo Viippola (Kajaani University of Applied Sciences) from Finland.

Post-race analysis for Nicola Müller (SUI) and Aapo Viippola (FIN).

Sweden also won the women’s event, with a superb performance from Elin Schagerström (Luleå University of Technology), who also took the gold in pursuit on Saturday 13 January. She beat Eliane Deininger from Switzerland, who studies at the University of Bern and the bronze went to Norwegian Synne Strand (University of Oslo).

Followed by… the pursuit

The last group of the women’s pursuit on their way to collect their maps.

For the pursuit, the competitors leave in the order of arrival of the sprint event, so sometimes only as little as a second apart! They each must complete two laps, with two different maps but might have to start with map B as their direct opponent starts with map A. So it could be a bad idea to follow the athlete you are trying to catch up with. A pretty complex event for the spectators unfamiliar with ski orienteering, trying to follow the GPS signals of the competitors on their phones via the official website.

One control point found for this Finnish athlete.
It is the front of the boot that county while passing the finish line.

This time it was “ladies first” and behind untouchable Elin Schagerström, Eliane Deininger (SUI – University of Bern) won her second silver medal of the competition and was joined on the podium by the local girl, Delia Giezendanner (University of Applied Sciences).

Women’s pursuit podium during the FISU anthem.

In the men’s event, the sprint winner Jonatan Ståhl (SWE) decided not to compete. In his absence, Switzerland’s Nicola Müller (University of Bern) managed to get the gold, Finland’s Aapo Viipola came second and Jan Lauenstein (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich) brought another Swiss flag to the podium, winning the bronze.

Future winner Nicola Müller (SUI) at the start of the race.
Tough competition on beautiful terrain.
The men’s podium, with three medals and three walnut tarts, a delicious local specialty.

Written by Thérèse Courvoisier. Photos courtesy of Martin Jörg