European Championships relay: Historical victory for Russia

Posted on | May 20, 2012 | Category: News

Tatiana Ryabkina, Svetlana Mironova and Natalia Efimova took a historical relay gold for Russia.
Photo: Erik Borg

On the way to the second last control a big fense showed up in front of the women fighting shoulder by shoulder for gold. Tatiana Ryabkina (32), Russia, took the best route choice and secured gold for her country.

It was the same fence that determined the gold for both women and men. Minna Kauppi, Finland, did just as Anders Holmberg, Sweden had done earlier today: they both ran around the fence – and the lost the relay.          

Ryabkina was thinking just as Holmberg that the fence was so high that it was not possible to climb over it, or it would at least be very risky, but Ryabkina looked also for other possibilities, and found them:  “There was a hole and I went through that”, she smiled afterwards.

Historical gold

The Russian got some metres’ gap and ran very happy to the finish. While the Russian relay men have won several international titles this was the first time a Russian women’s team has won at European or World Championships.

“It’s unbelievable”, the victorious trio said.

Natalia Efimova (28) and Svetlana Mironova (25) ran very well on the first two legs, but there was a gap up to leading Switzerland at the start of the last leg. “I am glad Switzerland didn’t have Simone on the last leg”, says Tatiana.

Injured in the morning

Simone Niggli had twisted her ancle on Sunday morning, and therefore decided to not run the last leg, as had been planned. She ran, however, very well on the second leg and the gap to the next best team was 1.33 minutes. Judith Wyder, bronze medallist on middle distance at the World Championships 2011 made a big mistake in the beginning of the last leg and lost the lead there. At the end Switzerland 1 finished seventh.  After an exciting relay the Swedish team could celebrate a bronze medal before Denmark and Norway.

No big celebration for the winners

The Russians celebrate the victory this evening, but they say the first ever victory won’t cause very big parties.  “It’s just three days to our selection races for sprint. It will be two races in one day and a knock out sprint with three races the next day, so we cannot afford to party now”, the winners explained.

For results, maps, gps tracking and videos, please visit the event website.


Sofia Haajanen (left), Merja Rantanen and Minna Kauppi are the silver winner.
Photo: Erik Borg



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