European SkiO Championships in Finland coming up

Posted on | January 27, 2017 | Category: Newsletter

The best Ski Orienteers will gather in Finland 7-12 February to compete in the European SkiO Championships (ESOC). Imatra, situated a few kilometres from the Russian border, will be the venue for the championships consisting of five events spread on six days:

The skiers can look forward to courses from 2.1 km in the Sprint Relay to 15.6km for women and 18.4km for men in Long:

A fairly new biathlon arena will be the venue for all events, and the connecting competition area offers different elements for a challenging Ski Orienteering competition. The height difference between lowest and highest point is only 30 m but in many parts, the slopes are steep and appear frequently. The most southern part of the terrain consists of pine and spruce forest areas without any natural skiing tracks and most parts with good visibility. Closer to the arena, there is a dense network of international level cross-country and biathlon tracks.

The snow situation has been challenging in South-eastern Finland during the end of December and in the beginning of the January. 18 days before the event, it was reported that some parts of the planned terrain had a lack of snow. Reserve terrain is located near Imatra, but the weather forecast is promising and the organizers have a positive outlook.


A strong field

16 nations are entered for the championships, though the skiers from the USA will not compete for the European titles. The championships bring together most of the best Ski Orienteers in the world. Prominent names in the men’s class include Lars Moholdt who won all individual races at ESOC in 2016. Last year’s World Cup winner Erik Rost and Eduard Khrennikov, who won January’s Ski-O Tour, are also among the potential medallist. Also Stanimir Belomazhev from Bulgaria has showed good shape, winning the three first stages of Ski-O Tour. With two individual silver medals from last year’s ESOC, Andrey Lamov has something to live up to, just like Finn Ville Petteri Saarela who has a home ground advantage.

In the women’s, it looks like Tove Alexandersson and Mariya Kechkina will continue their tight battle for the top positions. In last years’ World Cup standings, they were far ahead of the number three, and in the Ski-O Tour they also proved to have an extra level – both times with Tove Alexandersson drawing the longest straw. In the Ski-O Tour, Alena Trapeznikova was the closest opponent to Tove Alexandersson and Mariya Keckina, and not further behind than with a victory within reach. Other potential top fighters worth mentioning include  Polina Frolova, Tatyana Oborina, Hana Hanchikova and Magdalena Olsson.


Full live coverage

The IOF has been working for a while on a new webpage for live coverage and news. The new site is called LIVE Orienteering and will be tested for the first time in connection with the European SkiO Championships. On LIVE Orienteering, it will be possible to follow all the five distances at ESOC live, through GPS-tracking and a livestream.

In addition to the ESOC, three other major SkiO events take place in the same week in Imatra. The Junior World SkiO Championships, European Youth SkiO Championships and World Masters SkiO Championships will all be decided in the same period. Junior and Youth will race Sprint, Long, Middle and Relay, while Masters will race a Long and two Middle distances.

More information can be found at the organisers’ webpage.


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