Lenzerheide, at the Swiss region of the Graubünden, said goodbye to the 8th edition of the European Ski Orienteering Championships ESOC 2015. Joining 105 athletes representing 17 countries, the event saw today fulfilled the last final of the competitive program, with the dispute of the Relay finals. A happy ending, crowned with victories of Norway and Sweden, in the Men and Women classes, respectively.
In the men's competition, Finland, Sweden and Norway were in the lead in the ending of the the first leg, with the Finnish Tuomas Kotro handing over in the first position with 12 seconds ahead of the Swede Andreas Holmberg. The second leg was of total debacle for the Swedish first team, who saw the triple World Champion Peter Arnesson lose more than two minutes to the leadership. Lars Moholdt was perfect, ensuring for Norway an advantage of 34 seconds over the Finnish team and 37 seconds on Russia. As expected, the Russian Andrey Lamov raced once again at the highest level, but the recovered time was insufficient compared to a wise management of advantage by Hans Jørgen Kvale, which allowed to the norwegians enjoy their first and single gold in these European Championships. Norse victory with a total time of 1:41:00, against 1:41:18 and 1:41:25 from Russia and Sweden, ranked second and third respectively.
In the Women class, the first leg was extremely disputed, with Finnish, Swedish and Russian separated by just 10 seconds from each other. This alignment wouldn't change in the second leg, with the Finnish Mira Kaskinen to be the first to deliver the testimony with an advantage of 31 seconds over the Swedish Tove Alexandersson and 48 seconds over the Russian Mariya Kechkina. With their best pieces on the game board in the last leg, Sweden and Finland fought really hard for the vicory. With a strong start, the Swedish Josefine Engström quickly annulled the disadvantage to Mervi Pesu, being determined to get the gold for the second time in the Championships, after the victory, along with Erik Rost, in the Mixed Sprint Relay. The title with be discussed in a fierce sprint, with Josefine Engström to be stronger in the final meters and finishing with a time of 1:43:16 against 1:43:17 of Mervi Pesu. Polina Frolova stayed at 2:17 from the winner, offering to Russia the bronze medal.
Simultaneously with the ESOC 2015 took place the 18th World Masters Ski Orienteering Championships WMSOC 2015, which included the participation of 115 male athletes and 37 female, representing 13 countries and spread over a total of 19 classes. Finland dominated the competition, winning 23 gold medals from the 38 individual titles disputed. Germany with 5 gold medals, Russia with 4, Latvia and Switzerland with 2 and Norway and United States with a gold medal each, completed the medallist board.
1. Norway (Oyvond Watterdal, Lars Moholdt, Hans Jørgen Kvale) 1:41:00
2. Russia (Vladimir Barchukov, Eduard Khrennikov, Andrey Lamov) 1:41:18 (+ 00:18)
3. Sweden (Markus Lundholm, Martin Hammerberg, Ulrik Nordberg) 1:41:25 (+ 00:25)
4. Finland (Ville Petteri Saarela, Janne Hakkinen, Staffan Tunis) 1:41:50 (+ 00:50)
5. Switzerland (Andrin Kappenberger, Gion Schnyder, Christian Spoerry) 1:43:26 (+ 02:26)
6. Latvia (Raivo Kivlenieks Andris Kivleniekis, Nauris Raize) 1:50:06 (+ 09:06)
1. Sweden (Magdalena Olsson, Tove Alexandersson, Josefine Engström) 1:43:16
2. Finland (Milka Reponen, Mira Kaskinen, Mervi Pesu) 1:43:17 (+ 00:01)
3. Russia (Natalia Kozlova, Mariya Kechkina, Polina Frolova) 1:45:33 (+ 02:17)
4. Norway (Marta Ulvensoen, Anna Ulvensoen, Audhild Bakken Rognstad) 1:48:17 (+ 05:01)
5. Estonia (Evely Kaasiku, Daisy Kudre, Doris Kudre) 1:53:55 (+ 10:39)
6. Czech Republic (Simona Karochova, Johanka Simkova, Hana Hancikova) 1:55:32 (+ 12:16)
Full results and other information at http://www.skiolem15.ch/
[Photo: Martin Jörg / skiolem15.ch]