SkiO European Championships and World Cup: Russian power play

Posted on | February 21, 2012 | Category: News

Russia’s Polina Malchikova finishes just ahead of Sweden’s Tove Alexandersson. Polina’s team mate Andrey Grigoriev celebrates. Photo: Hanna Vehviläinen

Russia had three teams in the top six in today’s mixed sprint relay, the first event of the World Cup round 2 and European Ski Orienteering Championships being held around Sumy in eastern Ukraine. In European Championships, Russia took gold, Sweden silver and Bulgaria bronze.

Fifty-five teams started in the race, which was a frenetic all-action affair on relatively easy terrain with fastest times of only 7-8 minutes for each leg. Positions changed constantly, the result of small mistakes by most athletes along with the ‘gaffling’ which splits competitors up by having them visit groups of controls in different orders. At the final changeover it was Sweden in the lead, but when the teams were sighted coming towards the last control of the race, Russia held a lead of a few metres, and Polina Malchikova was able to hold off Tove Alexandersson in the final sprint for the line.

Sweden 2 was the third team to finish, so Bulgaria, fourth-placed team but third nation, took the bronze medals. Fifth and sixth were two further Russian teams; we can expect a very strong challenge for medals from the Russian team this week.

Teams in a mixed sprint relay are 1 man + 1 woman (or 2 women), doing six legs in all with the man going out first. Each nation can enter up to 6 teams, but only the first three to finish count for points towards the Sprint World Cup standings.

This was Tove Alexandersson’s only race in the European Championships; tomorrow and on the other race days she will be competing in the Junior World Championships. Tomorrow there are individual sprint races; the women race over 2.8 km and the men 3.1 km, giving an estimated winning time in each race of about 14 minutes.


Leading results – Mixed Sprint Relay / European Championships

1) Russia – Andrey Grigoriev & Polina Malchikova
2) Sweden – Peter Arnesson & Tove Alexandersson
3) Bulgaria – Stanimir Belomazhev & Antoniya Grigorova-Burgova

Leading results – Mixed Sprint Relay / World Cup

1) Russia 2 – Andrey Grigoriev & Polina Malchikova
2) Sweden 1 – Peter Arnesson & Tove Alexandersson
3) Sweden 2 – Erik Rost & Josefine Engström
4) Bulgaria 1 – Stanimir Belomazhev & Antoniya Grigorova-Burgova
5) Russia 1 – Kirill Veselov & Natalya Tomilova
6) Russia 3 – Eduard Khrennikov & Anastasia Kravchenko

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