World Ski Orienteering Championships: Kravchenko had no idea she was leading

Posted on | March 5, 2009 | Category: News

Russian athletes Andrei Lamov and Anastasia Kravchenko were the fittest on the physically very demanding long distance race in Rusutsu earlier today.

In the women’s race, Anastasia Kravchenko became the surprised gold medallist. She made a flawless race so focused on her own performance, that she did not notice she was in the lead until she was handed the Russian flag on the finish. “I thought I was heading to a 5th or 6th place. I did not even understand at first why my team mates were handing the flag to me”, said the 23-year-old Russian from Habarovsk.

Kravchenko, junior world champion from 2006, made in Japan her first appearance at the World Championships. The silver medal went to Barbora Chudikova from Czech Republic. Her medal is the first ever for Czech Republic in ski orienteering. Sweden’s Helene Söderlund, who was leading most of the race, finished third only 7 seconds behind Chudikova.

Lamov strongest at the end

Andrei Lamov took his second gold in a row after a hard fight with the defending champion, Eduard Khrennikov, in the last kilometres of the race. Khrennikov had a 10 second lead at the last intermediate control, but had to yield to Lamov in the last, excruciatingly long and steep climb before the finish. Khrennikov finished second only 9 seconds after Lamov. The young Finn, Olli-Markus Taivainen, who led the first third of the race, took bronze 45 seconds from the gold.

“I started the race calmly and wanted to control my orienteering. After the second loop, I was still after Khrennikov and Taivainen, but I knew I had spared strength to the last loop”, said Lamov. “Just two kilometres before the finish I saw Eduard in front of me. I was stronger, so I pushed past him in the long, steep climb”, Lamov explained the defining moment in the race.

The World Championships continue on Saturday, March 7th, with the middle distance.

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