As Ski-Orienteering made its Winter Universiade debut in the 29th edition with the sprints, Russian fans were treated to intense competition in a fascinating sport that combines navigational skills and endurance.
Ski-Orienteering kicked off at 3pm (local time) in chilly conditions at the Raduga Cluster multi-functional complex and the near-capacity crowd was treated to spectacular views and three Russians on the podium. In the men’s final, two Russian athletes made it onto the podium with Vladislav Kiselev winning in a time of 15:46. Audun Heimdal from Norway finished second, just +0:04 off the leader and rounding up the podium was another Russian athlete, Sergei Gorlanov.
“I feel good about my win and a bit exhausted,” said gold medallist Kiselev. “This was a very difficult race indeed, but we were well-prepared. It was hard work and it was a very demanding course. It took me two years to prepare for this event. Just two weeks ago I was still preparing at the European Championship in Turkey in a mountainous region high above sea-level.”
In the women’s sprint, Liisa Maija Nenonen from Finland showed a lot of emotion as she crossed the finish line in a time of 14:04. Her nearest competitor was the local athlete from Krasnoyarsk Marina Viatkina, who finished +0:21 behind. Finland also won the bronze with Mirka Maarit Suutari finishing +0:37 after Viatkina.
“I didn’t have the best preparation for the event today,” said winner Nenonen. “I was sick before this, but I remained calm and got to know the conditions and this made the win feel a whole lot better.” About the course, she added, “These conditions were great, I actually have nothing to complain about. It wasn’t easy, but I felt really good.”
Ski Orienteering continues with the Pursuit on 5 March.
Photo and press release Winter Universiade