It was the third competition day of the European Ski Orienteering Championships and the World Cup final which have been taking place in Khanty-Mansiysk for several days now. Today, participants and guests of the Ugra capital were waiting for another exciting race – sprint relay.
The teams made of one male and one female athlete had to cover six legs – three for each athlete. In total, every pair went through 54 checkpoints: 9 on each lap. Traditionally, athletes received maps 15 seconds before the start of the race.
26 teams started today: Russia was represented by eight teams, Sweden, Norway and Finland had three teams, two teams were from the Czech Republic, the rest of the countries were represented by only one duet.
The first to receive the maps and set off in search KPs were women. Alena Trapeznikova was the first one to reach the change-over. After the second lap, the advantage of the Russian duo remained, but the teams of Sweden, Estonia and Finland were in the pursuing group. After the third leg, the duet of Trapeznikova and Gorlanov were obviously determined to win. At the time of the third change-over, the pair’s advantage was 46 seconds, which remained until the end of the race.
“We took the lead because both of us got a short dispersion on the first lap. The second and third laps were longer, so the time gap did not increase. In general, I didn’t make mistakes, skied well, felt strength in my arms and legs, worked clearly, calmly, so I think I deserved B+ or even an A”, – said Sergey Gorlanov at the finish.
“Today the weather is warm, skiing was difficult, so I thought to jump into the first climb, and then bear without any mistakes. But unfortunately, I fell on the last lap. I decided not to slow down before the turn and fell there. It took me some time to get out of the snowdrift”, – explained her fall Alena Trapeznikova.
The fight for silver and bronze of the European Championships was exiting. Two Swedish teams has to decide which of them would occupy the second step of the podium. The duel of Eric Rost and Markus Lundholm ended only at the stadium. At the last control point, Erik Rost’s sensor didn’t work and he had to come back. This error cost an experienced Swedish athlete the silver medal of the championships. Thus, the silver in the sprint relay race was won by the duet of Marcus Lundholm and Magdalena Olsson. The bronze of the championships went to the Estonian team: Daisy Kudre and Mattis Jaama.
This is Magdalena’s thoughts on the race: «It was very tough and very interesting. I like that we have a challenging uphill at the beginning of the track and then technical orienteering. It is a perfect combination of very physical skiing on big tracks and very technical orienteering on narrow tracks. I trusted my partner. He is very stable and he also did a good race without any mistakes. I am really looking forward to the long race because yesterday on the middle distance I felt very strong and I was in the lead for a long time but I made a mistake. I want to make a clean race on the long distance».
3rd place – Sweden (Erik Rost and Isabel Salen)
Tomorrow, March 13, orienteers will have a long-awaited day off, but the day after tomorrow we’ll meet them on the long distance.