Ylläs, in Finland, is ready to host the IOF Ski Orienteering World Cup's first round. In the next four days, 88 athletes from 14 nations will compete for the gold in Sprint, Sprint Relay, Middle and Long Distance, both in Men and Women classes.
“As one season ends and we say thanks to organisers and congratulations to medal winners, we can look forward to our ski orienteering season starting”. These words are from Brian Porteous, the IOF President, and can be read in the Inside Orienteering's last issue, published today [HERE]. And so it is. The Ski Orienteering World Cup's season 2015-2016 is about to start in Lapland, in Northern Finland, and all the attentions are focused in Ylläs, a city that has, for more than 20 years, hosted the traditional opening of the Ski Orienteering season in Finland. Last time Ylläs hosted the World Cup opening round was in 2013 and this year the organization will offer an even more compact and visible event, fully centred in the Ylläsjärvi Ski Resort.
The Program will start tomorrow with the Sprint, while Saturday and Sunday we'll have the Sprint Relay and the Middle Distance. On 1st December, the Long Distance course will put an ending in the competition, which has 88 competitors – 49 male and 39 female – entered so far. Leaders of the IOF World Ranking, the Bulgarian Stanimir Belomazhev and the Russian Iuliia Tarasenko are the brightest stars in Ylläs, but we can also see here (almost) all the big names of the current Ski Orienteering scene, such as the Russian Andrey Lamov and the Swedish Tove Alexandersson, both current Sprint World Champions, the Norwegian Lars Moholdt, Long Distance gold medalist last World Championships, and the Finnish Milka Reponen, World Champion in Middle Distance. Big starts in the last European Championships, such as the Swedish Erik Rost, the Russian Tatyana Oborina and the Finnish Mervi Pesu, are also names to take in account when talking of medals. From the side of the absences, the remarks goes to the Swedish Josefine Engstrom, Long Distance World Champion and second placed in the IOF World Ranking and the Finnish Staffan Tunis, number four in the World Ranking and gold medalist in the Middle Distance of the last World Championships.
The IOF has produced a useful guide to the upcoming Ski Orienteering World Cup season, with interesting information about the sport, the events, the arenas and the athletes. The Ski Orienteering Season Guide 2015-2016 - an important document for anyone interested in Ski Orienteering in general, and the 2015-2016 Ski Orienteering World Cup season in particular – can be read HERE. As for the Ski Orienteering World Cup 2015-2016's opening round, you'll find all the information at http://ensilumenrastit.fi/2015/. You may also follow the races through the IOF Live Center from 9:00 a.m. tomorrow (GMT) at http://livecenter.orienteering.org/.