Ski Orienteering World Cup Round 2: preview

Posted on | February 19, 2012 | Category: News

In Round 1 of this year’s Ski Orienteering World Cup, Sweden’s Tove Alexandersson won all three individual races and was in the winning Mixed Relay team. This highly promising 19-year-old has taken the ski orienteering world by storm – but in Ukraine she will take part in the Junior World Ski Orienteering Championships instead of the European Championships/World Cup.

IOF World Rankings leader

Tove has already proved that she is up with the competition in all types of terrain; she currently leads the IOF World Rankings, albeit by almost the tightest possible margin – 2 points – from her compatriot Josefine Engström. She is without doubt the most promising all-rounder on the way up from the junior ranks; she is close to being in the top bracket in foot orienteering too. In foot orienteering she is world-ranked 7th, with a bronze Relay medal from last year’s World Championships and 3 Junior World Championship golds (2 individual, 1 relay) to her credit.

The strongest challenge so far in the senior women’s class to Tove has come from Josefine Engström, but it can be expected that the strength in depth in the Russian team will be much more in evidence in Ukraine.

Grigoriev looking for more success

Russia’s Andrey Grigoriev leads the men’s standings after the first round after a victory and a second place in the USA round. Here he will again be challenged by the very experienced Erik Rost and Peter Arnesson (both Sweden) and the two young Norwegians Hans Jørgen Kvale and Lars Hol Moholdt. Finland’s Steffan Tunis has also shown that he can be amongst the best. But Grigoriev will be supported by a very strong Russian team competing not far from their home ground, and will be looking for further success this week.

Big gathering in Sumy

The venue for this second round is Sumy, a city in eastern Ukraine quite close to the border with Russia. The events double as the European Championships, and the Junior World Championships (W/M 20), European Youth Championships (W/M 17) and World Masters Championships (W/M 35 – 85) will also be taking place there. So this will be by far the biggest gathering of ski orienteers this season. In recognition of this, the IOF is holding a clinic for Ski Orienteering Event Advisers and Organisers on three days in the week.

There will be five World Cup races: Mixed Sprint Relay on Tuesday, Sprint on Wednesday, Middle distance on Thursday, a standard Relay (women’s and men’s teams) on Saturday and individual Long distance on Sunday. There are entries from 22 nations, with 52 women and 72 men entered. There are good numbers for the other events too, in the World Masters including 1 entry in M85 and 2 in W80.

The terrain is 150-200 metres above sea level, and there is currently 15-20 cm snow at the venue with more forecast during the week. The courses will be set in mixed forest with a good network of tracks and paths, with some steep slopes.

More information can be found on http://skio2012.sumy.org/, and reports and leading results will appear on this home page after each race.

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