Saturday, June 22, 2013

EMTBOC 2013: Finland ends with another gold

Jussi Laurila and Marika Hara signed again on gold letters the name of Finland in the book of honor of the European MTB orienteering 2013 Championships, that ended today in Zamosc. An historic victory in what was the Mixed Sprint Relay's debut in the Europeans.

It was in a festive atmosphere that cames to the end the sixth edition of the European MTB orienteering Championships, with the feast of the Relay winning a new élan in this variant of Mix Sprint. The model has already been tested in previous occasions, particularly in precedent World Cup races, having now arrived to the European Championships where it puts an ending to the present edition. [Only in 2014 - and “unofficialy” - the Mixed Sprint Relay will be present in the program of the World Championships, to be held in Bialystok, Poland.]

Thirteen teams with two members each, in a four legs running, two legs each member, alternately (women – men – women – men), that is the model. Formed by Jussi Laurila and Marika Hara, the team of Finland confirmed all the favouritism, winning the race with a record of 57:12. Ruslan Gritsan and the very young Svetlana Poverina finished second with more 1:51 than the winners after Gritsan entered the decisive leg in fourth place, 15 seconds behind the Czech Republic and 13 seconds from Switzerland. The Swiss team, with Ursina Jäggi and Christian Wuthrich, would be the third ranked as the Czechs dropped to 5th place after the unhappy Frantisek Bogar's leg in the final. On the edge of the medals were Anna Kaminska and Maciej Gromadka, offering to Poland the 4th position, the best achieved by the "home team" in the Championships. Sweden, with the Long Distance's European Champion, Cecilia Thomasson and Anders Frisk, was disqualified by "mp" that Frisk did already in the last leg.

Finland dominates European Championships

Taking a look at the Championships medalist [see image above], it's notorious that the fifteen medals had addressed to eight countries. With three individual gold medals and one victorious“full” in the Relay races, Finland was the great dominatrix of the Europeans, followed by Russia, Sweden and Britain, all of them with a gold medal. In individual terms, one name stands out from all the rest and that is to Jussi Laurila, with four gold medals (Sprint, Long Distance, Relay and Mixed Relay Sprint). The Finnish Marika Hara (gold in Sprint, Relay and Mixed Relay Sprint) and Ingrid Stengard (gold and bronze in the Relay Sprint and Middle Distance), the Russians Valeriy Glukhov (gold in the Middle Distance and silver in Long Distance and Relay) and Ruslan Gritsan (silver in the Sprint, Relay and Mixed Relay Sprint), the Swedish Cecilia Thomasson (gold in the Long Distance and silver in the Middle Distance) and British Emily Benham (gold in the Middle Distance) are also names that makes the history of these European Championships.

However, if we extend the scope of places of honor to the 6th position, it is possible to find in the individual races other countries such as Italy (Luca Dallavalle was 4th in the Sprint and Laura Scaravonati finished in 6th place in the Middle Distance) Estonia (Tõnis Erm was 5th in the Middle Distance and finished 6th in the Sprint) and even Austria (Michaela Gigon, major name in the MTB orienteering's world, finished 5th in the Middle Distance). Already in the Relay, France was ranked 4th in the men and Lithuania concluded in 6th place, both in men as in women. Already in the Mixed Sprint Relay, Poland has achieved its best result thanks to the 4th place in the end, as has been mentioned before.

The MTB orienteering at the highest level will return on August 26th to the dispute of the Sprint race in the opening of the competitive program of the World Championships 2013, to be held in Rakvere, Laane-Viru County, Estonia. The latest results of the Europeans can be checked on

Joaquim Margarido

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