Tuesday, March 07, 2017

WSOC 2017: First gold for Sweden

The World Ski Orienteering Championships 2017 kicked off in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Opening the competitive program, the Sprint Relay was held this morning, with Tove Alexandersson and Erik Rost reaching the first gold of the Championships for Sweden. European champions currently, Russians Polina Frolova and Andrey Lamov had to settle with the silver.

An amazing weather and a great atmosphere marked the inaugural stage of the 22nd World Ski Orienteering Championships, which are taking place in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. With 15 teams at the starting line, one of the major attractions of the race was to follow the fight for the world title between Sweden and Russia, surely the two strongest teams at the moment. The first two legs were clearly dominated by Sweden. Tove Alexandersson, first, and then Erik Rost, showed an overwhelming superiority over their direct opponents, translated into a comfortable one-minute lead at the start for the tgird leg. Russia, Norway and the Czech Republic followed in the immediate positions with a time interval of less than 30 seconds between them. In the third leg an interesting volte-face occurred, with Salla Koskela reaching the leg’s best time and leading Finland to the podium places. This trend would grow in the following leg, with Ville Petteri Saarela getting a clear best time and reaching the second place, 1:31 behind Sweden but with a 15-second lead over Russia.

The last two legs were particularly exciting, especially after the amazing performance of Polina Frolova, the fastest in the fifth leg, shortening the difference between Russians and Finns to five seconds. Visibly worn out, Saarela didn’t have the strength to keep the duel with Lamov until the end, finishing Russia in the second place with a time of 36:15 and a 53-second disadvantage for Sweden, the great winner. The Finns got the third place, Evine Westli Andersen and Bjornar Kvale of Norway came in fourth position, followed by Antoniya Grigorova and Stanimir Belomazhev of Bulgaria in fifth and Hana Hancikova and Radek Laciga of the Czech Republic in sixth.


1. Sweden (Tove Alexandersson, Erik Rost)35:22 (+ 00:00)
Russia (Polina Frolova, Andrey Lamov) 36:15 (+ 00:53)
3. Finland (Salla Koskela, Ville Petteri Saarela) 37:14 (+ 01:52)
4. Norway (Evine Westli Andersen, Bjornar Kvale) 38:10 (+ 02:48)
5. Bulgaria (Antoniya Grigorova, Stanimir Belomazhev) 38:40 (+ 03:18)
6. Czech Republic (Hana Hancikova, Radek Laciga) 38:42 (+ 03:20)
7. Estonia (Daisy Kudre, Mattis Jaama) 39:38 (+ 04:16)
8. Kazakhstan (Olga Novikova, Aslan Tokbayev) 42:15 (+ 06:53)
Italy (Stefania Corradini, Francesco Corradini) 42:38 (+ 07:16)
10. Lithuania (Gabiele Andrasiuniene, Vitalijus Petrulis) 43:06 (+ 07:44)

Complete results and further information at http://www.wsoc2017.ru/en/.

[Photo: Elena Fedotova / facebook.com]

Joaquim Margarido

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