Tight battle between Finland and Sweden in Nordic Junior SkiO Meeting

Posted on | January 10, 2017 | Category: News

Photo: Jarno Vuorinen

A wide age span of ski orienteers gathered in Finland with different purposes. The weekend included Nordic Junior Meeting, Lapland SkiO Championships and selection races for the European- and the World SkiO Championships for the Finnish skiers.

Not far south of the Arctic Circle, the first World Ranking Event this year took place in Keminmaa, Finland 6-7 January. The two-day SkiO event Loppiaishisut included various competitions, amongst them the Nordic Junior Meeting.

The Nordic Junior Meeting is an annual SkiO competition between juniors from Finland, Norway and Sweden. This year Norway did not take part, so it was a head-to-head battle between Finland and Sweden. Each country had selected a team of six men and six women with the four best in both races counting for the title of best nation.

On Friday 6 January, a Sprint took place around the ski stadium in Keminmaa. Sweden was rather dominant in the men’s, taking the three first positions with Rasmus Wickbom as the winner. Contrastingly, the three first positions in the women’s were taken by the Finns, with Liisa Nenonen winning by 39 seconds.

nenonen-liisa

Liisa Nenonen from Finland. The overall winner in women20. Photo: Jarno Vuorinen

Saturday consisted of a Middle distance in the same area as the Sprint, although parts of the courses went in new areas. The 8.7km course in the men’s was won by Henning Sjökvist who had only made it into ninth position in the Sprint the day before. With a margin of 2.34 down to number two, it was enough to win the cumulated victory in the men’s, followed by Filip Jacobsson from Sweden and in third Eevert Toivonen from Finland.

In the women’s, the podium for the Middle was the same as for the Sprint. With victory in both Sprint and Middle, Liisa Nenonen was the clear overall winner. She was followed by her countrywomen Tuuli Suutari and Veera Klemettinen. Best Swede was Sofia Westin in fourth position overall.

The Finnish dominance on the women’s side was contributory to a Finnish victory in the nation’s competition against Sweden with a score of 81-75 in favour of Finland.

sjokvist-henning

The overall winner in men20 Henning Sjökvist at the start. Photo: Jarno Vuorinen

Selection for championship on home ground

The event was not only for juniors, as there were classes ranging from boys and girls 11 up to men’s 85. The senior elite races were of highest importance for the Finnish ski orienteers, as they were qualification races for the European SkiO Championships on home ground in Imatra, Finland and the World SkiO Championships in Russia.

This was reflected in the start lists, where all the best ranked Finnish men and women were present. Salla Koskela won the women’s overall after victories in both Sprint and Middle. In the men’s, a fourth position on the Sprint and a second on Middle was enough for Ville-Petteri Saarela to take the overall victory. Among others, he beat reigning European Champion in all three individual distances, Lars Moholdt from Norway, who finished fourth overall.

Ski orienteers from the Finnish region of Lapland had something extra to race for at the Middle distance, as it was also the Lapp SkiO Championship.

Find all the results here and more photos here.

Eevert Toivonen was best Finn overall in men20. Photo: Jarno Vuorinen

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