A sought after victory for Staffan

Posted on | March 24, 2011 | Category: Arena

Photo: Finnish Orienteering Federation

After finishing his studies last summer, Staffan Tunis has practised ski orienteering full time. “There was no problem in finding time for training while I was studying, but now I have more time to rest”, he says.

The 28-year-old Finn is now taking part in his fourth World Ski Orienteering Championships. “The first time I took part was just for practise, but at the other three Championships I have been good enough to fight for gold”, he comments.

Staffan and his countryman Olli-Markus Taivainen have been real racing brothers in World Ski Orienteering Championships starting from the 2007 Championships in Rusutsu, Japan. Until now Olli-Markus has managed to top Staffan with one placing each time. Having been defeated by Olli-Markus with only three seconds in the Sprint on Tuesday, Staffan finally got his “revenge” in the Middle distance race.

Staffan has been competing in ski orienteering for a while now, but he has no intention to finish his career as an elite level athlete. “I am not planning that far towards the future, but I do intend to continue. Now I also have a free spot on the Middle distance in the next World Championships, he says.

A new face in the Russian team

Polina Malchikova is a new star from the Russian ski orienteering metropolis Krasnoyarsk. Ski orienteering has a long history in this area and Krasnoyarsk is also know for many other great ski orienteers. This 25-year-old Russian took up the sport a couple of years after the 2000 World Ski Orienteering Championships held in Siberia. “ I had already practised cross country skiing and liked ski orienteering when I tried it”, she says. Polina is currently studying economy with both the Siberian Federal University and the government of the Krasnoyarsk region supporting her sports career.

While the Russian team has gained a new top class athlete, the followers of the World Ski Orienteering Championships have undoubtedly noticed a couple of big Russian names missing this year. Eduard Khrennikov did not qualify for the Championships this time whereas Tatiana Vlasova is focusing on another sport, biathlon.

Middle distance medalists: Alyona Trapeznikova, Polina Malchikova and Stine Olsen Kirkevik.

Photo: Finnish Orienteering Federation

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