SkiO World Cup and U23 World Championship titles at stake in Estonia this weekend

The ski orienteering elite will wax their skis for the last international races of the season this weekend, when the SkiO World Cup Final and U23 World Ski Orienteering Championships take place in Estonia from Friday to Sunday.

Three individual races await – a Sprint, a Pursuit (Long) and a Middle distance – all in Haanja in the most south-eastern corner of Estonia.

Athletes can expect a terrain with medium sized hills with steep slopes, relatively flat grasslands, cultivated fields and marshes between hills, the bulletin says.

The opening sprint on Friday has been moved from its original terrain in Kubija a little further north due to insufficient snow amounts to Haanja, where the rest of the races are held.

Olsson and Baklid has huge leads

This year’s Ski Orienteering World Cup consists of six races, of which the best five count in the overall standings.

The first three races took place four weeks ago at the World Ski Orienteering Championships in Austria, so at the latest after Sunday’s middle distance, it is clear who wins this year’s title.

Magdalena Olsson (SWE) and Jørgen Baklid (NOR) has commanding leads ahead of the final races in Estonia, after Olsson won two golds and a silver medal in Austria, where Baklid swept all three golds in the men’s class.

Olsson has 280 points and the nearest pursuer is Anna Ulvensøen (NOR) with 195 points and Linda Lindkvist (SWE) 22 points further behind.

Baklid (photo) has the maximum 300 points and lead by 100 points to Nicola Müller (SUI) in second position, with Finland’s Niklas Ekström in third (155 points).

If Baklid takes the overall win, it will be his third consecutive SkiO World Cup title.

Olsson has a second place from the 2019-2020 World Cup as her best overall result so far.

Find the World Cup standings here

U23 WSOC medals up for grabs

Friday’s Sprint and Sunday’s Middle distance serve as this year’s U23 WSOC, where athletes born in or later than 2001 are able to compete for medals and glory.

Last year Judita Traubaite (LTU) won both women U23 golds in Beitostølen, Norway, but 2023 was her last year in the U23 class, so she will not be able to defend her titles in Haanja.

In the men’s class Niklas Ekström (FIN) and Jonathan Ståhl (SWE) tied for the U23 sprint gold last year (photo), and Ekström won the middle distance title the day before.

Both of them have registered for the races in Estonia and are able to defend their titles.

Masters athletes will get their chance to win titles as well, as the World Masters Ski Orienteering Championships are held in conjunction with the races.

WMSOC was supposed to take place in Italy during 2024 Winter World Masters Games in January, but was cancelled due to lack of snow.

Don’t miss the action
The pursuit and middle distance races are shown on IOF TV, with English commentary by former Swedish national team athlete Linus Rapp.

Tickets are 9 EUR for each race – go to IOF TV for your ticket today.

Find start lists, results and GPS-tracking all three days on IOF LIVE.

All times listed are EET – UTC+2.

Programme
(all times EET : UTC +2)

Friday, February 23
Sprint
10:30 First start Women
11:00 First start Men
12:30 Prize giving ceremony

Saturday, February 24
Pursuit
10:20 IOF TV start
10:30 First start Men
11:45 First start Women

Sunday, February 25
Middle
10:00 First start Women
10:20 IOF TV start
10:30 First start Men

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