Season’s SkiO Championships start on Saturday

The best elite ski orienteers are heading for the Bulgarian ski resort Chepelare for the European, World Under-23 and World Masters Ski Orienteering Championships, which get under way at the weekend. The European Championships (ESOC) count also as the first round of the 2022 SkiO World Cup. Fifteen nations will be represented in ESOC, with 65 men and 56 women entered for three individual races, a Sprint Relay and a standard Relay.

Nations can enter up to 6 men and 6 women in the ESOC individual races, two 2-person teams in the Sprint Relay and 2 men’s and 2 women’s 3-person teams in the Relay.

The World U-23 Championships, for athletes aged 23 and under, will be decided on the results from the ESOC races. The World Masters Championships are in 5-year age classes from M/W 35 up to M/W 90, and here there are 3 individual races.

All the races will be held at the Kartola Alpine Centre, about 25 km from Chepelare, which has moderately hilly to hilly terrain made up of spruce forest and open fields, between 1500 and 1800 metres above sea level.

All top stars competing

We can anticipate some great racing, because all the athletes who finished in a top-6 position in the individual races at last year’s World Championships (WSOC – Estonia, February) will be competing here too, apart from Sweden’s Markus Lundholm. Biggest star at WSOC was Daisy Kudre EST with three individual medals (gold in Sprint and Middle, silver in Pursuit). Magdalena Olsson SWE, Jørgen Baklid NOR, Audun Heimdal NOR and Vladislav Kiselev RUS all finished with two individual medals.

Sprint Relay action from last year’s World Championships

There was very exciting racing in the Sprint Relay at WSOC, won by the Russian pair Alena Trapeznikova and Andrey Lamov, and we can anticipate the same in Bulgaria too.

The last ESOC was held in Russia in 2020 and was a triumph for the home nation. Defending ESOC champions this time round, all Russian, are:

Sprint – Alena Trapeznikova and Sergey Gorlanov

Middle – Tatiana Oborina and Sergey Gorlanov

Long – Marina Viatkina and Andrey Lamov

The Russian team of Alena Trapeznikova and Sergey Gorlanov won the Sprint Relay at ESOC 2020; victory in the Relays went to Sweden’s women and Russia’s men.

The Russian team at this ESOC yet again includes the legendary Eduard Khrennikov, now aged 48!

The whole ESOC event this year will of course be held under current Covid regulations as applied in Bulgaria, but as in Estonia last year, this shouldn’t affect the quality of competition. There will be no quarantines, so during the races there will be live results plus camera feed and arena sound, but GPS tracking and full TV-streaming of the individual events will only be available after the races.

Reports and leading results will appear on this website on each race day. For more information visit the event website, and read Bulletin 4, issued today.


Programme of ESOC races (all times Eastern European Standard Time, GMT + 2)

Saturday 22 January, 11.00, Sprint

Sunday 23 January, 10.00, Sprint Relay

Monday 24 January, 10.00, Middle Distance

Wednesday 26 January, 10.00, Long Distance (mass start)

Thursday 27 January, 11.00, Relay