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28 January 2015 | in Universiade 2015, Winter FISU World University Games, Cross-Country Skiing

From Cambridge to Strbske Pleso

STRBSKE PLESO – The cross country skiing venue in Strbske Pleso has again been marked by the Russian domination, both in the women's 5 km and in the men's 10km, which were raced in classic style.

Oxana Usatova, gold medallist of the women's 5km classic

In the women’s race, two Russian athletes made the medal podium. Oxana Usatova won the gold medal while her compatriot Lilia Vasilieva pocketed the bronze. Anastassiya Slovona, the Kazakhstan skier who won the sprint three days ago, ended second. It is unclear what could prevent the Russian skiers to continue their medal haul in the next races as they demonstrate incredible mastery on the tracks. The selection system in place in Russia (cf. previous news) is bearing fruit even beyond the expectations of the Russian officials.

In the men’s competition also, the Russian dominance is unchallenged. The men's 10km classic placed three Russians on the podium with Andrey Feller, a skier from Krasnoyarsk, winning gold and being pleased to showcase the host city of the 2019 Winter Universiade.

Andrey Feller, Student Athlete from Krasnoyarsk, host city of the the 2019 Winter Universiade winning the 10km classic

In addition to these preparations for victory, one can also find student-athletes who take great pleasure in just participating in the Universiade. This is the case for Fiona Elizabeth Hughes, a skier from Great Britain, who finished in a modest 22nd place this morning. For her first participation in a Universiade, Fiona was blown away by the exceptional atmosphere among participants and also by the excellent level of the athletes present: “I love being able to meet athletes from all these countries, I am also very excited to ski on the slopes so well prepared, the organization is just perfect. I study civil engineering at the University of Cambridge in the fourth grade and cross country skiing is a great way for me to put forward my volunteer spirit, and my determination other than my studies, it is very complementary. Studies prevent me to train as much as I would like but I have a huge support from my university and my family that helps me as they can to allow me to indulge my passion for the sport. I hope to be back for the Almaty Universiade in 2017.”

Fiona-Elizabeth Hughes from Great-Britain, a Cambridge Student happy to be part of this Universiade 

Yvan Dufour, Editor-in-Chief - Photos Roman Benicky & Yvan Dufour