Keenly fought Middle Distance races today ended with wins for Tove Alexandersson, Sweden and Andrey Lamov, Russia.
Tove Alexandersson continued her unbeaten sequence in these European Championships, winning by just over a minute and being the fastest throughout. Second place was taken by Maria Kechkina, Russia; she was in fifth place, 1.06 down at the half-way point but held her own against Alexandersson time-wise after that. Linda Lindkvist made it two women’s medals for Sweden today; she was second in the middle portion of the race, but lost a little time to Kechkina towards the end, finishing 10 seconds slower overall.
Early on in the race it was the Russian Alena Trapeznikova who was Alexandersson’s closest challenger, but she was already 25 seconds slower after 1.1 km and ended up fourth. Sixth-placed Salla Koskela, the best of the Finns, was just one minute down in third place after 3.1 km but lost more than a minute to the winner after that.
In the men’s race, both the Russian star Andrey Lamov and local big hope Stanimir Belomazhev started very strongly, setting up a lead of 22 seconds over everyone else after 2.7 km. Lamov and Belomazhev had almost identical times up to 5.5.km. From there, Lamov held his form throughout, whilst the decisive moment of the race was the 1-minute loss in time by Belomazhev between 5.5 and 6.8 km in the 7.5 km race. This left him in bronze medal position at the finish, despite being 12 seconds quicker than Lamov in the final section.
Lamov’s compatriot Eduard Khrennikov took the silver medal: he picked up time steadily from being 27 seconds down after 2.7 km and finished just 18 seconds slower than Lamov. Oyvind Watterdahl, Norway and Gion Schnyder, Switzerland finished in joint fourth place, with Schnyder enjoying a very controlled race, never below fifth place.
Champions in the Junior World and European Youth Middle Distance races are:
JWSOC: Men, Jørgen Baklid, Norway; women, Marina Vyatkina, Russia
EYSOC: Men, Akseli Virtanen, Finland; women, Alina Niggli, Switzerland
Conditions today in Yundola, near Velingrad, Bulgaria for both athletes and spectators were good, with sunshine and fairly light winds and a temperature just under freezing point.
Tomorrow is a rest day, and competition resumes on Wednesday with the Long Distance races.
- Tove Alexandersson SWE 25:11
- Mariya Kechkina RUS 26:14
- Linda Lindkvist SWE 26:24
- Alena Trapeznikova RUS 26:33
- Natalya Tomilova RUS 27:12
- Salla Koskela FIN 27:20
- Andrey Lamov RUS 28:11
- Eduard Khrennikov RUS 28:29
- Stanimir Belomazhev BUL 28:58
4= Gion Schnyder SUI & Øyvind Watterdahl NOR 29:06
- Misa Tuomala FIN 29:07