In the ski orienteering Sprint Relay at Winter Universiade 2019, the Russian duo of Marina Viatkina and Sergei Gorlanov took the team title, with a time of 47:39. The Norwegian pair of Evine Westli Andersen and Joergen Baklid followed the host nation team in second position, at 48:42.
Completing the podium was another Norwegian team, this one comprised of Tilla Farnes Hennum and Audun Heimal. The Norwegian teams were incredibly well matched as they finished just two seconds apart, and in the university spirit of fair play, the two teams made a point to congratulate the efforts of the other after the event.
Highlighting the elite level of sport at the Winter Universiade, Baklid is currently 23rd and Westli 25th on the world ranking lists of ski orienteering. “The Russians were tough on the finish,” noted Westli.
Added Anderson’s teammate Baklid: “In the end, we were really happy.”
The Russian strategy to victory was simple – but effective: “I always try to be the strongest competitor here,” said Viatkina. The 19-year-old rising star from Siberia adds another medal to her personal tally, having already won silver in the women’s sprint race and gold in the pursuit.
In terms of the terrain and course profile, the Norwegian athletes said it was not similar to the ones they use back home. While there are more trees around Krasnoyarsk than there might be in most ski orienteering hotbeds in Scandinavia, Westli said the area and environs made for a very good location for ski orienteering.
The ski orienteering athletes in Krasnoyarsk were unanimous that they hope this becomes a biennial tradition for their sport.
“The presence of ski orienteering at the Universiade is a big step forward, today’s winner Gorlanov said. “The FISU family has just included ski orienteering racing more broadly on an international level. We are really proud of what is happening around us. ”
Added Hennum: “The Universiade is very positive for skiing, especially with what they did with the camera. I think it makes the sport look bigger.”
“Let’s hope that continues like this”, added Heimdal.
The fourth and final ski orienteering competition day will take place on 10 March with the men’s and women’s middle distance final event.
SKI ORIENTEERING | SPRINT RELAY
Photos and press release by FISU Winter Universiade