Sunday, January 24, 2016

World Masters Ski Orienteering Championships 2016: 23 gold medals for Finland

Along with the World Cup program, Oberwiesenthal also hosted the World Masters Ski Orienteering Championships 2016. By achieving 23 world titles, Finland was the great dominator of a competition in which twelve countries signed their names on the medals board.

Oberwiesenthal was the stage, over the last three days, of the World Masters Ski Orienteering Championships 2016. Along with the great names of World Elite who competed in the second round of the Ski OWorld Cup 2015/2016, 263 veteran athletes from 18 countries fought for the Middle Distance and Long Distance titles, catching exciting duels and providing a show within the show. Note to the fact that most participants be coming from the Old Continent, with the United States being the exception and giving a “global” touch to a Championships that, otherwise, would be only “European”.

The Middle Distance World titles were found by the sum of times in two distinct stages, raced on Friday and Saturday. Finland immediately began scoring positions, winning eleven of the twenty titles up for grabs in this distance and fulfilling the podiums of classes M50, M55 and M70. Finnish Antti Virtanen (M45), Asko Sippola (M50), Pasi Martikainen (M55), Heikki Saarinen (M65) and Kyösti Jäppinen (M85) renewed their titles achieved in January last year in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, while the Finnish Toivo Ryyppö, World Champion at this distance in 2015 in M75 class, did an "upgrade" and was this year's winner in M80 class. As a curiosity it should be noted that the most significant difference was achieved in the W65 class by the Russian Tamara Ovsiannikova, leaving the Italian Licia Kalcich at 14:19 of difference. On the other hand, the most disputed victory went to the Czech Jan Lauerman who won over the Finnish Mika Häkkinen by 33seconds of difference in M40 class.

Finns even stronger in Long Distance

The Long Distance world titles were played today, with Finland to see strengthened its hegemony and to reach the highest place of the podium for twelve times. Antti Virtanen, Heikki Saarinen, Risto Orpana (M70), Jukka Luukko (M75), Toivo Ryyppö and Kyösti Jäppinen repeated the gold in the men's categories, while in women the Swedish Asa Zetterberg (M35), the German Anke Von Gaza (W45), the Czech Alena Rosecka (W60), the Russian Tamara Ovsiannikova (W65) and the Finnish Anne Pelt-Huikko (W55) and Pirkko Tahvanainen (W75) made “bis”. The Finns Mika Häkkinen (M40), Antti Virtanen (M45), Heikki Saarinen (M65) and Kyösti Jäppinen (M85) also renewed their Long Distance world titles. World champion in 2015 in the W35 class, the Latvian Lubova Pavlukova was this year's winner in W40 class. After losing Middle Distance title to the Russian Galina Vershinina, the American Sharon Crawford won the Long Distance title in the W70 class by the narrow margin of one second over Vershinina in what was the tightest duel of the Championships. Here too, Tamara Ovsiannikova get the largest advantage, beating again the Italian Licia Kalcich by the margin of 11:41.

Overall, the Championships' honor list was dominated by Finland with 23 gold medals, 16 silver and 7 bronze. With 6 gold medals, 6 silver and 14 bronze, the Czech Republic ranked second, while the third place went to Russia with 3 gold medals, 5 silver and 3 bronze. The following positions were occupied by Germany (3 gold medals, 4 silver and 6 bronze), Sweden (2 gold medals and 1 bronze), Latvia (1 gold medal, 2 silver and 2 bronze), United States (1 gold medal and 1 silver), Switzerland (1 gold medal), Italy (2 silver medals and 2 bronze), France and Lithuania (one silver medal and one bronze each). With one bronze medal, Austria closes this particular ranking.

Middle Distance
Long Distance
M35 Christian Hohl (Wing OK) SUI Ondrej Vodrazka (KOS Sl Plzen) CZE
M40 Jan Lauerman (OK Jihlave) CZE Mika Häkkinen (Hiitomiehet) FIN
M45 Antti Virtanen (Tarpian Suunta) FIN Antti Virtanen (Tarpian Suunta) FIN
M50 Asko Sippola (Kuortaneen Kunto) FIN Määttä Kimmo (Ounasvaaran H) FIN
M55 Pasi Martikainen (Haapamäen Urh) FIN Heikki Peltonen (Itä-Päijänt Rasti) FIN
M60 Udd Esko (SOC Asikkala) FIN Radovan Kunc (OOB TJ Tatran) CZE
M65 Heikki Saarinen (SOC Asikkala) FIN Heikki Saarinen (SOC Asikkala) FIN
M70 Risto Orpana (SOC Asikkala) FIN Risto Orpana (SOC Asikkala) FIN
M75 Jukka Luukko (FIN-Veterans) FIN Jukka Luukko (FIN-Veterans) FIN
M80 Toivo Ryyppö (FIN-Veterans) FIN Toivo Ryyppö (FIN-Veterans) FIN
M85 Kyösti Jäppinen (FIN-Veterans) FIN Kyösti Jäppinen (FIN-Veterans) FIN
W35 Asa Zetterberg (OK Djerf) SWE Asa Zetterberg (OK Djerf) SWE
W40 Anne Heinemann (SVR Dresden) GER Lubova Pavlukova (OK Stiga) LAT
W45 Anke Von Gaza (OLV Ulsar) GER Anke Von Gaza (OLV Ulsar) GER
W50 Renata Neumannová (VSS Praha) CZE Marita Väärälä (Ounasvaaran H) FIN
W55 Anne Pelto-Huikko (FIN-Veterans) FIN Anne Pelto-Huikko (FIN-Veterans) FIN
W60 Alena Rosecka (UNITOP) CZE Alena Rosecka (UNITOP) CZE
W65 Tamara Ovsiannikova (Veteran) RUS Tamara Ovsiannikova (Veteran) RUS
W70 Galina Vershinina (Veteran) RUS Sharon Crawford (RMOC) USA
W75 Pirkko Tahvanainen (FIN-Veterans) FIN Pirkko Tahvanainen (FIN-Veterans) FIN

Joaquim Margarido

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