World Ski Orienteering Championships: Two new world champions

Posted on | March 4, 2009 | Category: News

The sprint distance opened the World Championships in Ski Orienteering in Rusutsu, Hokkaido, Japan today. Ski orienteering got two new world champions as Hannele Tonna, Finland and Andrei Lamov, Russia won the women’s and men’s races respectively.

The conditions on the northernmost island of Japan were perfect for the event. Clear sky, sunshine, crisp air and almost three metres of snow sparked the competitors to do their utmost on the courses and tracks.

‘Perfect race’ for Lamov

Andrei Lamov, 25 years old from Russia, won his first gold medal with a perfect race. Lamov, who started last in the field, managed to balance his strong skiing with excellent route choices and concentration. “I competed to the best of my ability. I could not have improved my race”, said the happy Russian, who had a clear 15-second victory margin.

The fight for the other medals was tougher. Olli-Markus Taivainen, only 19
years old and four-fold junior world champion, rattled the seniors by taking the silver with only one second’s margin from his compatriot Staffan Tunis. Eivind Tonna from Norway took fourth place, only 6 seconds from the silver medal.

Tonna’s showcase

The women’s 3.3 km sprint race became a showcase for Finland’s Hannele Tonna. She made no mistakes, held even speed throughout the course and was among the top four in split times on every leg of the race. “A world champion, I can’t believe it”, she said with astonishment at the finish. “I enjoyed the race, felt good and alert from the beginning and kept my concentration from start to finish.”

Tonna was 12 seconds faster than Sweden’s young Helene Söderlund, who had perhaps the fastest speed on the tracks but made a small mistake in the middle of the course. Also here the fight for the other medals was tight. Söderlund beat the defending champion, Russia’s Tatiana Vlasova, by a mere three seconds. Her team-mate Tatyana Kozlova was only one second behind, but had to settle with fourth place and outside the podium.

The World Championships in Ski Orienteering in Japan continue tomorrow, Thursday March 5th, with the long distance. The races are expected to be physically very demanding. The men’s 25.7 km race includes a whopping 785 metres of climbing whilst the women’s 16,6 km race has 550 metres of climbing on the course.

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Photo: Paula Lehtomäki

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Photo: Paula Lehtomäki

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