19-year old wins women’s Ski Orienteering Pursuit

The Raduga Cluster hosted the second day of competition in Ski Orienteering at the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Winter Universiade, with the men’s and women’s Pursuits.

Both gold medals were awarded to Russians – Sergey Gorlanov and Marina Viatkina.

After the individual Ski Orienteering races the day before, athletes left the start line at time intervals based on their finishes in the sprint. The men’s course was about 9km long and athletes were expected to cross the finish line in 35 to 40 minutes.

Russian Vladislav Kiselev was the first to start, with Norway’s Audun Heimdal following four seconds later, and Russia’s Sergey Gorlanov a further seven seconds behind.

After the start, Gorlanov caught up with Kiselev fairly soon and the Norwegians too, did their best to keep pace with the leaders. As athletes select their own route options in Cross-Country Skiing Pursuit, the advantage gained by Gorlanov was not obvious until the 14th control point. At that moment it was clear that the Russian had chosen the optimal route and it would be difficult for anyone to challenge him until he crossed the finish line.

“Today’s race was totally opposite to yesterday’s,” Sergey Gorlanov said afterwards. “We were taken out of the ski complex, there was natural snow there, and skiing was tough. But today, it was the Ski Orienteering that we’re used to. I’m satisfied with the result.”

There wasn’t much of a fight for silver at the finish line: Kiselev was 10 seconds ahead of Finland’s Misa Tuomala. All the Norwegians were left out of the podium.

Bronze medalist Misa Tuomala said, “I made only a small mistake at the first control, but the rest of the track was quite good for me. I tried so hard, I knew that if I did my best, I would be on the podium”.

In the women’s Pursuit, the distance was about 7.5 km. Yesterday’s Sprint winner, Liisa Nenonen from Finland, started the race with an 11 seconds’ advantage, but even before the first control point, she was overtaken by her teammate Mirka Suutari and 19-year-old Russian Marina Viatkina.

After that, Viatkina took the lead and at the 12th control point she had more than a minute’s advantage over the Finnish orienteers. The Russian then continued to widen the gap. After the race, the local girl from Siberia said she had been counting on victory.

“I feel very happy,” said a smiling Viatkina. “At one point, I saw other athletes but did not see the leaders. So, I thought they were either far away from me or I was the first. But I still I was doing my best and kept it up to the finish line.”

Mirka Suutari and Liisa Nenonen from Finland had a fascinating fight at the finish. Suutari didn’t want to get a bronze medal for a second day in a row and pulled through to win silver.

Bronze winner Liisa Nenonen confessed that today’s race was not perfect for her. “The track was pretty hard. I was very nervous, and then I realized I was a little lost, and I was walking around in circles. Certainly, I wanted more, but I’m happy for my teammate and, in fact, the third place is also very cool.”

Photo and press release by Winter Universiade