The final competition day of the European Ski Orienteering Championships and the World Cup final took place in Khanty-Mansiysk. 121 athletes from 15 countries were fighting for the gold medals in four races throughout the week. There were sprint, middle distance, sprint relay and long distance. Today, March 15, it was time for the relays.
The women’s race consisted of three legs each having 17 control points, the men’s one included the same three lags, but with 18 KPs each. All relay groups included three people and went the distance from the mass-start. The first one to go were women, and, two hours later, there were men.
Half through the distance the Russian women’s team held the leading position. But after the second leg the situation changed drastically. Isabel Salen rushed forward and passed the baton to Magdalena Olsson beating Kseniia Terekhova. Marina Vyatkina tried to catch up with Magdalena, making a mistake at first and loosing time but quickly made up for it. Vyatkina beat Olsson at the distance, but such a decision cost her strengths that were not enough to fight Olsson right before the finish line. Olsson made a move and got to the finish line first.
« I managed to change the outcome by doing my own race. I was alone in the forest and I was trying to make a good race and keep our position as good as I could”, – said Isabel Salen.
Magdalena Olsson also shared her race strategy: «I noticed on the course that on uphills Marina was stronger than me and I knew that it was none of them before the finish. I knew that if I follow her to the last control I had a good chance to win. We are very happy with this competition. Khanty is a really nice place and has a fantastic ski stadium. We had a very nice orienteering here”.
In five minutes gap, there was a no less exciting fight between the second Russian team and the representatives of Finland. Only in at the Alena Trapeznikova’s, third, leg it become clear that the “bronze” of the World Cup final would belong to the second Russian team, and the “bronze” of the European Championship to the Finnish team.
In contrast with the women’s relay, men’s one lacked suspense. Vladislav Kiselev, representing the first Russian relay team, immediately took the lead and passed the baton to his teammate Sergei Gorlanov with an advantage of three minutes. Sergey Gorlanov, as in previous races, showed excellent speed and careful choice of the paths. Andrey Lamov only had to pass the rest of the route clearly, and he did it great. Well-coordinated work brought the Russian team the “gold” of the Championships.
“During the relay race you can’t relax. Sergey and Vlad performed well, and I understood that they would give me a good advantage, but I still was prepared to work hard. The track profile is very prominent, the downhills are steep, so at the very end I fell, the ski went into the snow and I couldn’t pull it out for a long time,” – shared Andrey Lamov.
The other medals of the men’s race were won by the following teams:
World Cup Final:
- Russia 1
- Russia 2
With this, the European Ski Orienteering Championships and the World Cup came to an end. Ugra once again demonstrated its hospitality, as well as its ability to host sport events of any kind.