The gold medals went to Norway and Sweden in today’s thrilling pursuit races at the World Ski Orienteering Championships in Finland – Jørgen Baklid was fastest among the men, while Linda Lindkvist kept cool at the end to secure her first World Championship.
The sun was shining today over Kallin Skicenter, where the men’s class was first to start at 10.00 EET. Due to the close race at yesterday’s sprint, it was a hectic start with many athletes within few seconds. And a group of around 8 athletes formed on the first loop.
The decisive moment happened just after the first map exchange, where Norway’s Jørgen Baklid got ahead on the second loop and never looked back – skiing fast without any notable mistakes. The silver medalist from yesterday, Finland’s Tuomas Kotro was also going fast in the many narrow tracks and took another silver medal. There were 16 seconds between Baklid and Kotro just before the last loop, but Baklid kept cool and stayed well ahead onto the finish line.
Switzerland’s Nicola Müller finished third and got the bronze medal after a fantastic final loop, where he went from eighth place and won the sprint ahead of Finlands Eevert Toivonen, who finished fourth for second day in a row.
Excitement to the end
For a long time, the women’s class looked like a clear victory for Finland’s Salla Koskela, who took a split silver medal yesterday and had a great start in today’s pursuit race. While most of her closest competitors made mistakes on the first controls, she avoided time losses and was nearly 1 minute ahead after 5 km.
She stayed in the lead until just before the last map exchange, where the Finn overlooked a control and had to turn around and go back. That opened the race completely, and Sweden’s Linda Lindkvist and Frida Sandberg together with Anna Ulvensøen, Norway suddenly had the gold medal within reach.
More small mistakes were made on the last controls, and Linda Lindkvist took the fastest route choices and crossed the finish line with a clear margin of 9 seconds, winning her first World Championship. Salla Koskela won the sprint for silver just ahead of Anna Ulvensøen, while Frida Sandberg finished on fourth place some seconds behind.
Thursday is rest day, and WSOC continues on Friday with the WSOC middle distance, which at the same time serves as the last round of the IOF Ski Orienteering World Cup and U23 World Cup.
The HQ web-tv stream with English commentary will begin at 12.30 EET (UTC+2) – Get your ticket here: http://dev.orienteering.sport/event/world-ski-orienteering-championship/middle/
The JWSOC and EYSOC athletes will race for middle distance medals today – get the results here.
Leading results, WSOC Pursuit
- Linda Lindkvist, SWE 70:45
- Salla Koskela, FIN 70:54
- Anna Ulvensøen NOR 70:56
- Frida Sandberg, SWE 71:09
- Daisy Kudre Schnyder, EST 71:52
- Anna Magdalena Olsson, SWE 72:23
- Jørgen Baklid NOR 69:02
- Tuomas Kotro, FIN 69:36
- Nicola Müller, CHE 70:03
- Eevert Toivoinen, FIN 70:06
- Ville Petteri Saarela, FIN 70:19
- Stanimir Belomazhev, BUL 70:22
(The race times are sprint+pursuit combined)