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10 March 2019 | in Ski Orienteering

Joergen Baklid and Liisa Nenonen win Ski-O middle distance gold

The Biathlon competitions of the 29th Winter Universiade concluded at the Biathlon Academy Multifunctional Complex with the men’s Mass Start race. Espen Uldal from Norway won the gold medal, while in the women’s event, Ekaterina Moshkova won her third gold medal of Krasnoyarsk 2019

 

KRASNOYASK, 10 March – The men's Mass Start race started with a bolt of energy. The leading group broke away almost immediately and remained in front during the first lap, as many athletes passed the first shooting range without any misses.

 

On the second shooting range, however, the leaders of the race started missing targets. Espen Uldal from Norway who shot all the targets accurately then became the leader, half a minute ahead of Maksim Varabei from Belarus. David Tolar from the Czech Republic and another Norwegian Torstein Opsahl were close on their heels.

 

The final shooting range was the decisive one for the medals. The Norwegian was shooting fast and missed one target, while his rival ended up missing two shots. Their pursuers were also missing the targets. Before the last lap, the final leading group was formed, with Uldal first, Varabei behind by 30 seconds and Adam Vaclavek of the Czech Republic 60 seconds behind the leader. This is how it remained until they crossed the finish line.

 

Espen Uldal could not restrain his emotions after the finish. “This is the best race of my life!” he said. “The best experience I've ever had! My opponent from Belarus was moving very quickly. But, fortunately, I had wonderful skis that helped me. The course is very difficult, there are almost no slopes, only climbs. So, I had to work hard.”

 

Maksim Varabei was also pleased with the silver medal. “This is the final race of the season. I was at my best,” he said. “Of course, I did not have enough strength for the last line, but I am very pleased with my result.”

 

The women’s Mass Start race was an emotional one as Ekaterina Moshkova won and became a three-time champion of the Winter Universiade 2019.

 

In the first round itself, six Russian biathletes broke away from the rest of the group. Three of them, including Moshkova, Tamara Voronina and Elizaveta Kaplina, managed to complete the first shooting range without any mistakes.

 

The intrigue only escalated after the first standing position – Kaplina got two extra laps, while Moshkova and Voronina had to go only one additional lap. Natalia Gerbulova and Elena Chirkova did not miss any shots. The gap between the first and the fifth athlete was no more than 40 seconds.

 

Moshkova took the lead from Kaplina about one kilometre before the finish line. Having got away on the ascent, Moshkova didn’t give way after that and won her third gold medal at the Winter Universiade 2019.

 

“The race was intense,” said Moshkova after the finish. “Everything was decided at the last shooting range once again, where I missed once, but I managed to close this little gap and win the race.”

 

RESULTS:

Mass Start. Women

  1. Ekaterina Moshkova (RUS)

  2. Elizaveta Kaplina (RUS)

  3. Elena Chirkova (RUS)

 

Mass Start. Men

  1. Espen Uldal (NOR)

  2. Maksim Varabei (BLR)

  3. Adam Vaclavek (CZE)

 

 

Earlier, 7 March

KRASNOYARSK, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, 7 March — In the ski orienteering mixed ski sprint relay at Winter Universiade 2019, the Russian duo of Marina Viatkina and Sergei Gorlanov took the team title, with a time of 47:39. The Norwegian pair of Evine Westli Andersen and Joergen Baklid followed the host nation team in second position, at 48:42.

 

Completing the podium was another Norwegian team, this one comprised of Tilla Farnes Hennum and Audun Heimal. The Norwegian teams were incredibly well matched as they finished just two seconds apart, and in the university spirit of fair play, the two teams made a point to congratulate the efforts of the other after the event.

 

For the uninitiated, ski orienteering is a winter endurance sport combining map-reading navigation skills and cross-country skiing over rough terrain, on prepared cross-country ski trails.

 

Highlighting the elite level of sport at the Winter Universiade, Baklid is currently 23rd and Westli 25th on the world ranking lists of ski orienteering. "The Russians were tough on the finish," noted Westli.

 

Added Anderson’s teammate Baklid: "In the end, we were really happy."

The Russian strategy to victory was simple – but effective: "I always try to be the strongest competitor here," said Viatkina. The 19-year-old rising star from Siberia adds another medal to her personal tally, having already won silver in the women’s sprint race and gold in the pursuit.

 

In terms of the terrain and course profile, the Norwegian athletes said it was not similar to the ones they use back home. While there are more trees around Krasnoyarsk than there might be in most ski orienteering hotbeds in Scandinavia, Westli said the area and environs made for a very good location for ski orienteering.

 

Joergen said that if skiing orienteering is to continue developing those potential audiences must know this: “We are not running in the forest. We have to ski in a technical way.”

With the sport being on the Universiade sport programme for the first time, they see the event as a potential way for ski orienteering to raising its level and profile. Already, the 2023 Winter Universiade host city of Lake Placid will include ski orienteering at its event.

 

For 2021 host Lucerne, the organising committee said they were “very seriously considering” adding ski orienteering to its programme for the next edition of the Winter Universiade. Lucerne will make its final decision in June, on the eve of the Summer Universiade in Napoli, Italy.

 

The ski orienteering athletes in Krasnoyarsk were unanimous that they hope this becomes a biennial tradition for their sport.

 

"The presence of ski orienteering at the Universiade is a big step forward, today’s winner Gorlanov said. “The FISU family has just included ski orienteering racing more broadly on an international level. We are really proud of what is happening around us. "

 

Added Hennum: “The Universiade is very positive for skiing, especially with what they did with the camera. I think it makes the sport look bigger.”

 

"Let's hope that continues like this", added Heimdal.

 

The fourth and final ski orienteering competition day will take place on 10 March with the men’s and women’s middle distance final event. The event will start at 14:00 local time (+7 GMT). The race will be streamed live at fisu.tv.

 

SKI ORIENTEERING | MIXED SPRINT RELAY

 

RANK

NATION

TIME

GAP

1

Russian Federation

47:39

2

Norway

48:42

1:03

3

Norway

48:44

1:05

 

 

DAY THREE- 5 March, 2019

 

19-year old local Siberian thrills home crowd, wins women’s Ski Orienteering Pursuit

 

The Raduga Cluster hosted the second day of competition in Ski Orienteering at the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade, with the men’s and women’s Cross-Country Skiing Pursuits. Both gold medals were awarded to Russians – Sergey Gorlanov and Marina Viatkina.

KRASNOYARSK, 5 March – After the individual Ski Orienteering races the day before, athletes left the start line at time intervals based on their finishes in the sprint. The men’s course was about 9km long and athletes were expected to cross the finish line in 35 to 40 minutes.

 

Russian Vladislav Kiselev was the first to start, with Norway’s Audun Heimdal following four seconds later, and Russia’s Sergey Gorlanov a further seven seconds behind.

 

After the start, Gorlanov caught up with Kiselev fairly soon and the Norwegians too, did their best to keep pace with the leaders. As athletes select their own route options in Cross-Country Skiing Pursuit, the advantage gained by Gorlanov was not obvious until the 14th control point. At that moment it was clear that the Russian had chosen the optimal route and it would be difficult for anyone to challenge him until he crossed the finish line.

 

“Today’s race was totally opposite to yesterday’s,” Sergey Gorlanov said afterwards. “We were taken out of the ski complex, there was natural snow there, and skiing was tough. But today, it was the Ski Orienteering that we’re used to. I’m satisfied with the result.”

 

There wasn’t much of a fight for silver at the finish line: Kiselyov was 10 seconds ahead of Finland’s Misa Tuomala. All the Norwegians were left out of the podium.

Bronze medalist Misa Tuomala said, “I made only a small mistake at the first checkpoint, but the rest of the track was quite good for me. I tried so hard, I knew that if I did my best, I would be on the podium”.

 

In the women's Pursuit, the distance was about 7.5 km. Yesterday's Sprint winner, Liisa Nenonen from Finland, started the race with an 11 seconds’ advantage, but even before the first control point, she was overtaken by her teammate Mirka Suutari and 19-year-old Russian Marina Viatkina.

 

After that, Viatkina took the lead and at the 12th control point she had more than a minute’s advantage over the Finnish orienteers. The Russian then continued to widen the gap. After the race, the local girl from Siberia said she had been counting on victory.

 

“I feel very happy," said a smiling Viatkina. “At one point, I saw other athletes but did not see the leaders. So, I thought they were either far away from me or I was the first. But I still I was doing my best and kept it up to the finish line.”

Mirka Suutari and Liisa Nenonen from Finland had a fascinating fight at the finish. Suutari didn't want to get a bronze medal for a second day in a row and pulled through to win silver.

  

Bronze winner Liisa Nenonen confessed that today's race was not perfect for her. “The track was pretty hard. I was very nervous, and then I realized I was a little lost, and I was walking around in circles. Certainly, I wanted more, but I'm happy for my teammate and, in fact, the third place is also very cool.”

 

Ski Orienteering Pursuit. Men

 

  1. Sergei Gorlanov (RUS) – 34.38

  2. Vladislav Kiselev (RUS) – 35.48

  3. Misa Tuomala (FIN) – 35.59

 

Ski Orienteering Pursuit. Women

 

  1. Marina Viatkina (Siberian Federal University) – 31.38

  2. Mirka Suutari (Jyvaskyla University of Applied Sciences) – 33.19

  3. Liisa Nenonen (University of Jyvaskyla) – 33.21

 

 

DAY TWO- 4 March, 2019

Gold medals for Russia and Finland in inaugural Ski-Orienteering competition at the Winter Universiade

As Ski-Orienteering made its Winter Universiade debut in the 29th edition with the sprints, Russian fans were treated to intense competition in a fascinating sport that combines navigational skills and endurance.

KRASNOYARSK, 4 March – Ski-Orienteering kicked off at 3pm (local time) in chilly conditions at the Raduga Cluster multi-functional complex and the near-capacity crowd was treated to spectacular views and three Russians on the podium.

 

In the men’s final, two Russian athletes made it onto the podium with Vladislav Kiselev winning in a time of 15:46. Audun Heimdal from Norway finished second, just +0:04 off the leader and rounding up the podium was another Russian athlete, Sergei Gorlanov.

 

“I feel good about my win and a bit exhausted,” said gold medallist Kiselev. “This was a very difficult race indeed, but we were well-prepared. It was hard work and it was a very demanding course. It took me two years to prepare for this event. Just two weeks ago I was still preparing at the European Championship in Turkey in a mountainous region high above sea-level.”

 

In the women’s sprint, Liisa Maija Nenonen from Finland showed a lot of emotion as she crossed the finish line in a time of 14:04. Her nearest competitor was the local athlete from Krasnoyarsk Marina Viatkina, who finished +0:21 behind. Finland also won the bronze with Mirka Maarit Suutari finishing +0:37 after Viatkina.

 

“I didn’t have the best preparation for the event today,” said winner Nenonen. “I was sick before this, but I remained calm and got to know the conditions and this made the win feel a whole lot better.” About the course, she added, “These conditions were great, I actually have nothing to complain about. It wasn’t easy, but I felt really good.”

 

The Winter Universiade was officially opened on 2 March by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin and just two competition days in, the hosts are leading the medals table, closing in on 30 medals. Ski Orienteering continues with the Pursuit on 5 March.

 

Ski Orienteering, Sprint, Results

 

Women

1. NENONEN Liisa Maija (FIN)

2. VIATKINA Marina (RUS)

3. SUUTARI Mirka Maarit (FIN)

 

Men

1. KISELEV Vladislav (RUS)

2. HEIMDAL Audun (NOR)

3. GORLANOV Sergei (RUS)

 

 

 

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