Finland dominated the women’s relay races today with golds in both W18 and W16. M18 was won by Norway, and M16 by Czechia with the most decisive victory of the day, 3.43.
Finland were hot favourites in W18, and were pressed hardest by Czechia who were leading by 3 seconds at the first changeover. Elli Punto established a lead of 1.35 for Finland on leg 2, and Eeva Liina Ojanaho got home comfortably in front despite losing 20 seconds on the last leg to Czechia’s Lina Martinova. Bronze went to Hungary.
Norway were surprise winners in M18 – their first (and only) medals in these championships. Sixth on leg 1, 1.40 down, then a fine run by Kristoffer Strom Wik to bring them up to third, only 3 seconds behind the leaders Switzerland and Sweden. Nils Anders Niklassen ran a good last leg to ensure victory by 22 seconds, with Switzerland second and Sweden third.
W16 was also a Finland success story. Lotta Laakso was right behind the Swiss leader at the end of leg 1, with a gap of 2.50 down to the next group of teams. Roosa Muukonen put Finland 18 seconds in front after leg 2, and Iida Koskinen extended this to 46 seconds on the final leg. Switzerland took the silver medals and Poland the bronze.
Czechia started strongly in M16, with Vladimir Srb first equal with Switzerland on leg 1, 54 seconds in front of everyone else. Prokop Tomasek pulled away on leg 2 and came in 2.51 ahead, and Erik Heczko, bronze medallist at Long Distance, made sure of victory and extended the lead to 3.43. Just as in W16, Switzerland and Poland were silver and bronze medalists respectively.
Switzerland wins Team competition
All athletes scored points for their nations based on their results. The best team over the three days is Switzerland, followed by Finland and Czechia. France took fourth place, Hungary fifth and Spain sixth.
So ends a European Youth championships well organized by the Bulgarian club Mladost Blagoevgrad, with all the races held in or close to Velingrad.
Gold – Finland 90:42, Silver – Czechia 91:57, Bronze – Hungary 96:54
Gold – Norway 87:22, Silver – Switzerland 87:44, Bronze – Sweden 89:18
Gold – Finland 83:40, Silver – Switzerland 84:26, Bronze – Poland 90:53
Gold – Czechia 81:06, Silver – Switzerland 84:49, Bronze – Poland 88:23
Photo: EYOC 2023 Facebook