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11 March 2019 | in Cross-Country Skiing

Naoto Baba of Japan wins men's 30km mass start

KRASNOYARSK, 12 MARCH – Naoto Baba of Japan pulled off the near-impossible as he beat a trio of Russian skiers hot on his pursuit, to win gold in the men’s cross-country skiing mass start 30km race. It was an almost superhuman effort right from the start, as he broke into a lead and maintained it all the way through to the end. His achievement can be assessed from the fact that until today, the last day of competition at the Winter Universiade 2019, only one out of ten gold medals in cross-country skiing had gone to a non-Russian. The home athletes have completely dominated events at the Raduga Cluster.


Today, the athletes competed for the last set of medals in cross-country skiing, in the men's 30 km mass start free style, which is one of the most challenging distance races.


In the first few kilometers of the race, Baba pulled ahead, along with some members of the Russian national team, Slovak skier Jan Koristek and Kazakhstan’s Olzhas Klimin.


By the middle of the race, the group of leaders thinned out. Baba was still heading the race followed by Ilya Poroshkin, Kirill Kilivniuk and three-time champion of the Winter Universiade 2019, Ivan Yakimushkin keeping close to the leader.


As early as five kilometers before the finish, it was clear that Baba was too far ahead of his pursuers, for them to challenge him for gold. Baba sailed through to the finish line.


“From the very beginning, I tried to use my speed to create an advantage over my rivals,” Baba said after his emphatic win. “My strategy was to get ahead and not to let my opponents get close. Everything worked out. This medal is very significant for me because the Universiade is a major international event. I will give my gold medal to the school where I studied. Thanks to everyone who was cheering for the skiers, I really liked the atmosphere at Raduga Cluster, because everyone here supported everyone. Thank you!”


Russia’s Kilivnyuk and Poroshkin finished one after another, placing themselves in second and the third, respectively, behind the leader by about half a minute.


Kirill said he was very proud of the Raduga Cluster facility. “Everything was built from scratch, and now it is a world-class track. I will definitely practice here. And, perhaps, training sessions and stages of the World Cup will be held here."




Cross-Country Skiing. Mass Start. Men
  1. Naoto Baba (JPN) – 1:10.20,92.

  2. Kirill Kilivnyuk (RUS) – 1:10.51,73.

  3. Ilia Poroshkin (RUS) – 1:10.56,7



Earlier- 6 March


Alisa Zhambalova triumphs in cross-county ski 15km freestyle, becomes four-time Winter Universiade champion

KRANOYARSK, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, 6 MARCH – It wasn’t until the final drive to the line in the 15km freestyle event that Alisa Zhambalova was able to pull ahead of her Russian teammate Ekaterina Smirnova to win her fourth gold medal of Winter Universiade 2019 on the Siberian cross-country ski trails of Raduga Cluster.


Leading into the stadium during the longest – and last – of the women’s ski events, Smirnova made Zhambalova work the whole way for the win as the silver medalist was just 1.1 seconds away from victory. Fellow Russian Yana Kirpichenko finished third to complete a Russian sweep. Japan’s Miki Kodama in fifth place marked the first competitor outside the home nation to cross the line in the mass start event.


For the first seven kilometers the leading group was comprised of the Russians, Kazakhstan’s Valeriya Tyuleneva, two Czechs – Petra Hyncicova, Winter Universiade 2019 sprint winner and Anna Sixtova, winner of the Pursuit race at the Slavic Cup – and a trio of Japanese: Shiori Yokohama, Chika Kobayashi and Kodama.


Over the ensuing kilometers, the leading group gradually got smaller, with Zhambalova, Kirpichenko and Smirnova at the front together, leading one kilometre before the finish. With the finish line in sight, Zhambalova made a late move around Smirnova to take the title. Earlier in this Universiade, Zhambalova also won gold medals in the individual 5 km classic, pursuit and 3x5km relay.


"I feel very tired," said Zhambalova at the finish. "It's great, of course, to become a four-time champion of the Universiade. However, I didn't have much energy left. But now, all the races are over, and I can finally take a breath and relax properly.”


“I was looking behind me during the first kilometres—the Kazakh and Finnish girls were following me quite close,” added Zhambalova. “I lost sight of our girls for some time. But on the second lap, they caught up with us, so we could set the leading group together. We raced comfortably, our team tactics worked out. I want to thank the girls for the support, equipment service for the good preparation of our skis and the fans for their support too!"


Cross-Country Skiing | Results | Women’s 15km Freestyle Mass Start

  1.  Alisa Zhambalova      Russian Federation    38:39.8

  2.  Ekaterina Smirnova   Russian Federation    38:40.9

  3.  Yana Kirpichenko       Russian Federation    38:45.4



Earlier- 9 March

Russia, Kazakhstan and Finland rule men’s Cross-Country Relay

KRASNOYARSK, 9 March – After taking out the women’s relay in the morning, the Russian men followed suit and won the 4x7.5km relay in a time of 1:15:22.2.


The Russian team was in a tight battle with Kazakhstan in the first half of the race. The Kazakh skiers took a 2.6 second lead into the first changeover, but Russia then took over with a slender 1.2 second advantage into the second changeover. After that, the Russians took the race by the scruff of the neck and widened the gap to 1:26.6 as the final skier crossed the finish line to confirm Russia’s gold medal.


“Well the race was quite good for us,” said Ivan Yakimushkin of Russia and acknowledged his teammate Kirill Kilivnyuk. “Thank you to Kirill because he made the great gap for me, psychologically, it gave me more strength. We are grateful to him, because the first two legs were difficult. The guys tried hard. Great thanks to the team of Kazakhstan because the race was quite tough.”


Kazakhstan ultimately held on for silver in spite of a late charge from Finland. Kazakhstan finished with a time of 1:16:48.8, ahead of Finland who finished in the bronze medal position with a time of 1:17:09.1.


“I didn’t have my best day. I have raced in every race so far, so I was running on empty,” said Joonas Sarkkinen of Finland, who became a double Winter Universiade medallist with this bronze. “The race was really difficult today, harder than yesterday's Team Sprint. It was especially hard to go uphill. The third place is perhaps the best we could get today.”


The Russian crowd were generous in their cheering as they willed all the nations on, not just their gold medal winning relay team. The lesser nations were greeted with a rapturous applause and cheer to motivate them on. However, the greatest cheer was held for the last Russian skier who crossed the finished line in first.


The men had to race four stages of 7.5 kilometres each: the first two were to be run in classic style, while the rest were to be completed in free style.


Earlier in the day, the women competed in a 3 x 5km relay and despite an early push from Finland, Russia led from start to finish to take home the gold medal in a time of 43:01.3 minutes.


Finland were neck-and-neck with Russia going into the first change over and entered the second stage of the race only 1.3 seconds behind. However, Russia surged ahead and never looked back as they widened their gap to 50.9 seconds at the second changeover. Russia’s final skier was dual gold medallist, in the ladies individual 5km and the 5km pursuit, Alisa Zhambalova, who continued Russia’s momentum and stormed home to finish 1:32.4 minutes ahead of second.


“Today we are very happy that we actually could work out through all these steps,” said an elated Zhambalova. “The weather today is different from yesterday and it’s very nice that our service men acted immediately when we chose our skis, it helped us a lot.”


After trailing Italy at the second change-over, Japan overtook the Italians in the final stages of the race to take home the silver medal in a time of 44:33.7 minutes. Italy finished third in a time of 44:56.4 minutes.


Japan’s Shiori said “The race was a little more difficult compared to yesterday. So, in the latter half of the race, my pace went down. We haven’t been close to a medal these last few years, so the level of our team mates has risen quite high recently and that’s the most happy thing about this event.”


Cross-country skiing competition at the Winter Universiade 2019 concludes with the women’s 15km mass start on 11 March and the men’s 30km mass start on 12 March. Both events will start at 11:30 local time (GMT +7) and will be streamed live on fisu.tv.


Results: Women


  1. Russia

  2. Japan

  3. Italy


Results: Men


  1. Russia

  2. Kazakhstan

  3. Finland





Russia’s Terentev and Matsokina team up in trendsetting cross-country ski event


The reigning Winter Universiade men’s nordic sprint champ joined up with the women’s sprint runner-up to win the mixed team sprint, an innovative race format that debuted as two years prior in Almaty

KRASNOYARSK, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, 8 March – A standing room only crowd saw Russian athletes excel again on Siberian snow as Alexander Terentev and Hristina Matsokina teamed up for victory in the Winter Universiade 2019 cross country ski Mixed Team Sprint final.


Terentev and Matsokina pulled away from the second team, also from the host nation comprised of Andrey Sobakarev and Polina Nekrasova during the transition to the sixth and final lap around the 1.5 km course, with Finland’s Joonas Sarkkinen and Katri Lylynpera pursuing closely behind.


“I worked to the last, to the last meters, because I had to try to escape,” Terentev said about his game-changing move on the fifth lap. “The more we ran away from our pursuers, the better.”


A new frontier for cross-country skiing that FISU pioneered in international competition during the Almaty 2017 Winter Universiade, the Mixed Team Sprint brings the intensity of cross-country sprint racing into a mixed-gender team format. Competitors in Krasnoyarsk were universally upbeat about the race.


“We often ski on different days, the boy and the girls, so a race like this is something that makes us more of a team,” Lylynpera said.


“Having this style of race is a great idea,” Matsokina said. “You work together, you have a very strong shoulder to support you. This is something new here. I hope they will hold such a competition in the world championships and the Olympics.”


With the two-person teams alternating racing around the 1500-metre course three times each through two semifinals and the finals over a two-hour period, the event tests athletes’ stamina and speed.


“For the final, I really needed to preserve my power while keeping a good race position,” Matsokina said. “Then on the last lap, I gave the maximum effort.”


The effort was enough to ensure Matsokina her first Universiade gold as she turned a one second advantage at the fifth and final exchange into a ten second victory, with Finland another seven seconds back.


The event pitted the two biggest protagonists from the men’s individual sprint together again. Two days earlier, Sobakarev crossed the finish line first, but was disqualified for tugging Terentev’s ski pole going into the final turn.


Today, both acknowledged they worked much better together, as evidenced by their gold and silver medal performances.


“I am pleased with the result, we have a good rivalry on the ski track, “Sobakarev said. “Alexander and I agreed that we would work together, to really let it run out on the second lap in order to drop our remaining rivals.


“I am pleased with everything. The conditions of the race and our performance were very good, at a high global level. I am pleased with everything. My teammate and I, we fought and showed a good result. I just think the strongest team won.”


The action from the cross-country ski tracks at the Raduga sports cluster at the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade continues tomorrow, Saturday, with the men’s and women’s, relays. The women kick things off with the 3x5 km at 10 a.m. local time (+7 GMT) and the men get underway with the 4x7.5 km relay at 12 p.m. (noon) local time (+7 GMT). Both races will be streamed live at fisu.tv.










Alexander Terentev

Hristina Matsokina




Andrey Sobakarev

Polina Nekrasova





Joonas Sarkkinen

Katri Lylynpera







Czech Republic’s Petra Hyncicova golden in cross-country ski sprint at Winter Universiade 2019


The 24-year old Olympian and FIS World Ski Championship athlete adds a Winter Universiade gold to her sparkling university sports career. In the process, the Czech skier denies the Russian team their first clean sweep of the podium in cross-country skiing. In men’s event, Russia’s Terentev edges Kazakhstan’s Dyussenov in a dramatic sprint duel

KRASNOYARSK, 6 March — The Czech Republic's Petra Hyncicova began the Winter Universiade 2019 cross-country ski sprint competition by posting the fastest time in qualifying around the 1500m course.


The 24-year old continued her winning all the way through the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. In the process, she denied Russia a third-consecutive clean sweep of the medals here on the Sopka Arena ski trails.


“I didn’t expect to get the first place, but I did it,” Hyncicova said. “I had tactics and I made a slight mistake – once or twice I went ahead. Nonetheless, I left the girls behind and I’m really happy.”


Still, Russia was well represented on the medal podium as Hristina Matsokina finished +0.8 seconds behind Hyncicova for second and Polina Nekrasova in third (+1.20). The silver and bronze performance, though, left at least one Russian wanting more.


“I went to the start tired,” Matsokina said about the final, the fourth race of the day. “The semifinals were very quick, and time was running fast. It was all working out the way that I wanted – to catch Tatiana Aleshina. I caught her, we started racing and we missed our opponent.


“To be honest, I’m a little less than satisfied.”

Rounding out the final was Tatiana Aleshina and Alisa Zhambalova of Russia in fourth and fifth, and Italy’s Francesca Franchi in sixth. For the women’s 5km classic and pursuit victor Zhambalova, it was the first time the world’s 20th ranked distance skier didn’t earn gold here in the Siberian capital city. 


A Russian trifecta led by Aleshina and followed by Matsokin and Nekrasova pushed the pace and controlled the race throughout much of the race around the gradual-but-grinding course.


The defining move, though, came from Hyncicova as the skiers swept into the backstretch of the stadium before making a gradual lefthander for home. Relying on an aggressive high-speed no-pole skate the Czech moved into leading position and was never seriously challenged in the home straight to the finish line.

The 25-year-old from Liberec, who competed for four years for the University of Colorado Boulder in the USA’s NCAA university sport system came into Siberia fresh off the plane from the FIS World Ski Championships. In Seefeld, Hyncicova placed 11th and 13th with her Czech teammates in the 4x5km and sprint relay competitions. 


This Universiade gold adds to Hyncicova's illustrious sports career, where she was named the women’s university nordic national skier of the year and a two-time national collegiate champion in the USA. An all-around who performs well in both sprint and distance events, Hyncicova also represented the Czech Republic at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in four events:  sprint, 10K, 30K and skiathlon. 


The next and final competition for women at the 29th Winter Universiade is the 15K Mass Start, which will take place on 11 March (11:30 local time, +7 GMT). 


In the men’s race, Terentev won Winter Universiade gold on home soil in a photo finish over Dyussenov as the first athlete to cross the line, Ivan Yakimushkin was relegated to sixth for obstructing another

Alexander Terentev of the Russian Federation added Winter Universiade gold to his growing collection of international titles in the cross-country ski sprint, as the event’s reigning world junior champion won in a photo finish over Asset Dyussenov of Kazakhstan.


With just 2/100th of a second separating Terentev and Dyussenov, the final outcome could have hardly been tighter. Or more dramatic as the 19-year-old Terentev had to wait until a jury relegated Ivan Yakimushkin of Russia to last in the final for obstruction coming into the final turn to home.


The victory caught Terentev by surprise. “I didn’t even get what had happened,” he said. “I was in shock. When we went to the flower ceremony, I was told that I had won.”


After his race, Dyussenov called his silver medal performance a victory.


“I tried to do my utmost to make it in the finals,” Dyussonov said. “Then I was going to race depending of my state of health. It was quite hard to fight with guys. I was focused on the course and tried to play it in accordance with my tactics. Such victory is my first one at this international arena.”


With the Yakimushkin’s relegation, Andrea Sobakarev moved onto the podium in third. Ivan Kirillov of Russia followed in fourth and the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Cerny in fifth. After qualifying in second, the Czech looked like a medal contender with crafty skiing and bursts of speed in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

Sobakerev animated the early part of the race where he led through the first half. Terentev injected extra intensity into the race with a burst of pace up the final long climb with 600 metres to the finish. It wasn’t enough to break the downhill draft effect of his pursuers as four skiers – three Russian and Dyussenov – were tightly clustered as they entered into the stadium’s backstretch.


The 22-year-old Kazakh went wide around the curve as Sobokerev, in an act of aggression, yanked on Terentev’s pole to move into the lead around the final lefthanded turn into the finish. Nearly falling, Terentev regained his composure for a powerful final 100 meters that saw him emerge victorious by the smallest of margins.


“I was disqualified because I grabbed Alexander Terentev,” Sobokerev explained. I was overtaking him on the left, but there were cones and I couldn’t get away. So it happened that I grabbed him. I’d already had a yellow card and then I got another one. So, I was disqualified. There was nothing I could do. I had two options: go out of the cones or just give up. It’s better to win, but with yellow card and disqualification.”


For Dyussenov, his silver medal marked the first podium place by a non-Russian in the first three ski events here at the Sopka Arena in the heart of Siberia.


The fourth and final cross country ski event of the 29th Winter Universiade takes place on the final day before the conclusion of the event with the university cross-country ski event of kings: the 30km mass start at 11:30 am (+7 GMT).





Athlete Nationality Result
1. Petra Hyncicova Czech Republic 2:47.34
2. Hristina Matsokin Russian Federation 2:48.14
3. Polina Nekrasova Russian Federation 2:48.54
4. Tatiana Aleshina Russian Federation 2:49.33
5. Alisha Zhambalova Russian Federation 2:54.85
6. Francesca Franchi Italy 2:55.43



Athlete Nationality Result
1. Alexander Terentev Russian Federation 2:49.39
2. Asset Dyussenov Kazakhstan 2:49.41
3. Andrej Sobakerev Russian Federation 2:51.37
4. Ivan Kirillov Russian Federation 2:57.37
5. Ondrej Cerny Russian Federation 3:26.32



DAY TWO- 4 March, 2019


Day 2 of Cross-country Skiing belongs to hosts Russia once again


The Russian Cross-Country Ski squad had already placed themselves well for the Pursuits, by sweeping the medals on the opening day of competition at the Raduga Cluster. The men and women didn’t disappoint the home crowd yet again picking up all six medals on offer

KRASNOYARSK, 4 March – On the second day of competition at the Winter Universiade 2019, the Cross-Country Skiing Pursuit 10km race was led by Russians Ivan Yakimushkin, Anton Timashov and Ivan Kirillov who had won gold, silver and bronze the Individual Classic race yesterday.


Yakimushkin started with an advantage of 15 seconds over Timashov, followed closely by Kirillov and three more Russian compatriots. One French athlete and two Kazakh skiers were the only challengers pressing the Russians. Yakimushkin broke away from his pursuers at the 6.1 km mark and soon doubled his advantage over Timashov. There was no looking back for him, after that. After the finish, Yakimushkin said he followed his plan for the two medals so far and that he was very glad, but he also promised that he would be going for victory in other races too.


A photo finish had to be used to determine the silver medallist between Timashov and Kirillov. "Today was even harder than yesterday," said Timashov later. "We saw each other during the whole distance, raced together, knowing that we would compete at the finish. This race was more nerve-wracking, more difficult, not physically but psychologically."

The bronze medallist, Ivan Kirillov, was in high spirits. "Everything went fine,” he said. “There was teamwork and competition at the finish. It’s a pity that I haven't managed to do better. I surely want to win all races, but my rivals also put a lot of effort in their training, all of them are strong. That's why I am happy with what I have now."


Earlier, in the women’s 5km Pursuit race, yesterday’s champion Alisa Zhambalova was the first to start followed shortly (3 seconds interval) by Ekaterina Smirnova and Yana Kirpichenko. The Russian trio kept close together throughout, with Smirnova in the lead.


At the 3.5 km mark, Zhambalova and Smirnova were well ahead of Kirpichenko, competing with each other for victory. The finish turned out to be rather intriguing as they took turns in taking the lead, but in the last few metres, Zhambalova pulled off the victory for her second gold medal of the Universiade.

After finishing, Zhambalova admitted that she was not really counting on the victory. "I was sure to find myself within the top three, but never thought it would turn out this way. At the finish, it all happened by itself. Right now, I still cannot quite comprehend what has just happened because it was not an easy race. The understanding will probably come after I have some rest."


Ekaterina Smirnova, the silver medallist, seemed a little disappointed. "I failed the battle at the finish, in terms of tactics,” she said. “I did have a chance to win. These are the first international competitions I have participated in and the level of responsibility is tremendous since they are held in our country. Now I am getting into the right mindset for the 15 km race.”



With the Russian men taking positions one through six and the women also winning gold, silver and bronze in Cross-Country Skiing, the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade began on a successful note for the host nation

KRASNOYARSK – Alisa Zhambalova, Ekterina Smirnova and Yana Kirpichenko led a 1-2-3 for the host nation as they swept gold, silver and bronze in the first medal event of the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade. Shortly after the sweep by the Russian women in the Cross-Country Skiing Individual (C), the men did even better and took positions one to six in their event. The first medliasts of the Winter Universiate 2019 were awarded by Russian President Vladimir Putin and FISU President Oleg Matytsin.


Sixty-eight women from 24 countries began the Classic 5km race, with skiers starting at 30-second intervals after each other. For a long time, it was French skier Laurie Flochon who was looking good for the podium, but eventually she ended up placed 20th.


It was only towards the end of the race that the leaders emerged. Russians Zhambalova, Kirpichenko and Smirnova, along with Italian athlete Francesca Franchi made a dash for the finish. Finally, the entire podium was swept by the Russians. Zhambalova came in first; although she was 5th during the first lap, she sped up on the second one and finished the race in 14:48.6. Just a few days ago, she was participating in the World Championships in Seefeld, Austria, and was a bit worried coming into the Winter Universiade.


“The time here is like a whirlpool, everything’s happening so fast,” Zhambalova said after finishing the race, “At first I was worried about jetlag affecting my performance. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to ‘wake up’, but everything worked out in my favour. Today I tried my best to do everything perfectly. By the way, the skis did a good job.”

Smirnova fell behind Zhambalova by 3.7 seconds, and the difference was even narrower between her and bronze medal winner Yana Kirpichenkol only 0.1 second.


Smirnova was very emotional after receiving her medal: “I did not expect to stand on a podium today! I’m so happy! The atmosphere here is really nice and positive, the course is great. Tomorrow will be Pursuit, and I’m also running Mass Start. Now, this is my distance.”


In the men’s field of 86 competitors, the last six to start – meaning the strongest – were six Russians. They started as the main contenders for the medals and ended like that too, mostly competing against each other.


World Junior Champion Ivan Yakimushkin finished with the best time of 26:00.6, ahead of compatriots Andrey Timashov and Ivan Kirillov.  

Later, Yakimushkin could barely contain his happiness. “I started pretty hard and wanted to keep the lead, but during the first few kilometers I heard I was falling behind. I was very worried about not being able to keep up with their rhythm. Though on the second lap I noticed the other guys losing pace and saw the opportunity to get ahead”.


After the medals ceremony, Yakimushkin said that he hadn’t expected to receive a medal from Russian President Vladimir Putin. “It’s the first time for me. I can’t find the right words... It is so cool to be awarded by the President! You feel extremely upbeat and you understand the importance of this medal”.


Results: 5 km Individual (C), Women


Alisa Zhambalova (RUS)

Ekaterina Smirnova (RUS)

Yana Kirpichenko (RUS)


Results: 10 km Individual (C), Men


Ivan Yakimushkin (RUS)

Anton Timashov (RUS)

Ivan Kirillov (RUS)