Dramatic relays at the Asian Winter Games

Posted on | February 5, 2011 | Category: News

The ski orienteering events at the VII Asian Winter Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan ended today with a relay event with real drama. The unbreakable and blinding fog from Thursday had changed into a snow white mountain landscape with large snowflakes falling slowly from the sky. Anxious competitors were ready for the race to compete for the last medals in the games.

Kazakhstan took expectedly gold in men’s relay, but the Iranian team did not let the winners relax at any point of the race. Although Kazakhstan led all through the race, Iran stayed within striking distance during first and second leg. Alexander Babenko started the relay for Kazakhstan in lead, but Iran’s Bijan Kargarloo, surprise bronze medallist from middle distance, stayed close by. On the second leg, Iran’s Yasin Shemshaki found today the right routes and sent off Seyed Sattar Seyd to the last leg only 1.54 min behind Kazakhstan’s 3-fold gold winner Mikhail Sorokin. This time Iran did not manage to surprise, and the experienced Sorokin skied Kazakhstan to gold.

Drama to the very end

Behind Kazakhstan and Iran, the fight for the bronze was dramatic. Kyrgyzs ski orienteers, Igor Gusev and Andrei Savinykh, ran excellently on the first and second leg, and when the in advance stronger teams Mongolia and Korea made mistakes, Kyrgyzstan’s Tamerlan Dzhumabekov went out to the last leg three minutes ahead of Korea and four minutes before Mongolia. Dzhumabekov did a good run, but the Mongolian runner and much stronger skier Barkhuu Erdenechimeg was closing in. On the third last and spectator control, Dzhumabekov came first causing instant and wild celebration among the Kyrgyzs team and fans. Dzhumabekov was on his way to his country’s first and only medal in the Asian Winter Games. But Mongolia’s Erdenechimeg appeared to the same control only 150 meters behind Dzhumabekov. Dzhumabekov was desperately trying to flee from the chasing Mongolian. In the last, difficult downhill to the last control and in view of a full stadium of spectators, Dzhumabekov tried too much, lost his balance, fell and the Mongolian skied to a bronze medal. Whereas Mongolians were celebrating their bronze, disappointed Dzhumabekov was guided crying out of the stadium with his team members. The despair of Dzhumabekov and all the Kyrgyzes was so heartbreaking that the entire stadium applauded standing to honour their valiant but unsuccessful fight.

Kazakhstan strong in women’s relay

Women’s relay was a pure power demonstration by the Kazakhstani team. Yevgeniya Kuzmina, Elmira Moldasheva and Olga Novikova did not leave any room for speculation and took the gold with an immaculate race. Korea took the expected silver and Mongolia the bronze.

For the Asian ski orienteers, the Asian Winter Games was a success. Hard fights for medals, surprise performances, demanding courses and weather conditions, a lot of fun, and true spirit of fair play and friendship among the participants and teams. Fulfilling the motto for the VII Asian Winter Games: “Unity of Purpose – Unity of Spirit”. Ski Orienteering took its place on the worldwide sport venue with grace and is now looking forward to the next VIII Asian Winter Games in Japan.


Women’s relay

1. Kazakhstan (Yevgeniya Kuzmina, Elmira Moldasheva, Olga Novikova)
2. Korea (Ja Youn Kim, Hana Lee, Seelbi Choi)
3. Mongolia (Uugantsetseg Nandintsetseg, Narantsetseg Altantsetseg, Otgontsetseg Chinbat)
4. Kyrgyzstan

Men’s relay

1. Kazakhstan (Alexander Babenko, Aslan Tokbaev, Mikhail Sorokin)
2. Iran (Bijan Kargarloo, Yasin Shemshaki, Seyed Sattar Seyd)
3. Mongolia (Gerelt-Od Bayaraa, Byambadorj Bold, Barkhuu Erdenechimeg)
4. Kyrgyzstan
5. Korea

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