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19 July 2018 | in FISU World University Championships, Orienteering

Scandinavians beat the heat at WUC Orienteering

Mercury rises with the Middle Distance races on Day 2


KUORTANE –The heat is on in the Finnish city of Kuortane and it’s not just the weather. As the 21st World University Orienteering Championship entered Day 2, it was time for the tough middle middle distance races in sweltering conditions at Virpimäki, Lapua.


Despite the heat, it was a sweep for the Scandinavians, as Sweden’s Emma Bjessmo won the women’s race while the host nation’s Aleksi Karppinen took the honours among the men. The second and third place in the women’s race were claimed by Marie Olaussen of Norway and Johanna Öberg of Sweden. In the men’s race too, it was Paul Sirum and Håvard Haga of Norway who took the second and third spots.


“I’m really happy with my race,” said women’s winner Emma Bjessmo after the race. “I only had a few hesitations during my run and I solved them by stopping for a few seconds and checking my map in peace. I think those micro stops played a big part in my win.” Bjessmo is also running in the sprint on Thursday and in the relay on Saturday.


The weather was so hot that the warm-ups before the race had been short for all the athletes, as they were trying to keep as cool and hydrated as possible.


Aleksi Karppinen felt good after the race and especially after his win. “It feels good to succeed at an important moment. I was feeling confident before the race and I’m feeling good in Finnish terrains. It’s definitely an advantage to know how to orienteer in these kind of tracks and what to expect,” he said.


At the finish line, the First Aid team was ready with water buckets and quick advice on how to recover from the race and the heat. “We tell the athletes to find a place with shadow and drink a lot of water. It’s important to minimize the effects from the heat right away,” advised official competition doctor Esa Liimatainen.


Will the mercury continue to rise on Day 3?