Ski Orienteers Go East

Posted on | February 23, 2009 | Category: News

The world ski orienteering elite is heading towards new tracks. When Japan hosts the World Ski Orienteering Championships in the beginning of March, it will be the first time that the event is organised in Asia. The conditions in Rusutsu, on Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, should be perfect for ski orienteering: the temperature is between 0 and -10 degrees, and the place is well-known for its remarkable natural snowfall.

The athletes compete in the World Championships on three individual distances – sprint, middle and long – and in relay. The terrain they will face in Rusutsu is partly flat and partly very hilly, but the visibility is good almost everywhere. Rusutsu is Hokkaido’s largest ski resort and one of Japan’s most popular year-round resorts.

In the women’s class, the Russians are coming to the championships as tough as ever. There are five Russians amongst the 10 best on the World Ranking list, and Tatiana Vlasova, who won four gold medals at the last World Championships, and the overall World Cup last season, is not even amongst them. However, the World Ranking leader comes from Sweden: Helene Söderlund won Ski-O Tour in Central Europe earlier this year and is leading the rankings before Tatyana Kozlova (RUS) and Hannele Tonna (FIN).

One of the big favourites in the men’s class is Eduard Khrennikov. The 35-year old Russian has won 15 gold medals in World Ski Orienteering Championships – more than any other orienteer – including all the World Championship relays since 1998. In the previous World Championships in Moscow in 2007, Eduard won four out of four gold medals. At the moment, he is second in the Ski Orienteering World Rankings, after winning the Ski-O Tour in January. World Ranking leader, Staffan Tunis (FIN), will definitely give tough competition to Eduard in Japan, even though the Finn is only one point ahead of Eduard in the rankings, and two points ahead of Ondrej Vodrážka, Czech Republic. Last year’s World Cup winner Erik Rost (SWE) is fourth, but only four points behind the leader.

Leading results from Japan will appear on the IOF website throughout the period of the Ski-WOC. More information can also be found on the Ski WOC 2009 homepage.

Ski-WOC programme:

Tue 3 March: Opening Ceremony

Wed 4 March: Sprint Distance

Thu 5 March: Long Distance

Sat 7 March: Middle Distance

Sun 8 March: Relay, Closing Ceremony

Leading world rankings before the World Championships:

Women

1) Helene Söderlund SWE 1243

2) Tatyana Kozlova RUS 1226

3) Hannele Tonna FIN 1213

4) Marte Reenaas NOR 1212

4) Olga Novikova RUS 1212

6) Yuliya Tarasenko RUS 1197

7) Josefine Engström SWE 1193

8) Hanna-Maija Mäkelä FIN 1184

9) Polina Malchikova RUS 1165

10) Anastasia Kravchenko RUS 1162

Men

1) Staffan Tunis FIN 1290

2) Eduard Khrennikov RUS 1289

3) Ondrej Vodrážka CZE 1288

4) Erik Rost SWE 1284

4) Andrei Lamov RUS 1284

6) Peter Arnesson SWE 1281

7) Andrey Grigoriev RUS 1278

8) Andrei Gruzdev RUS 1264

9) Jarkko Urpalainen FIN 1263

10) Eivind Tonna NOR 1261

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