World Championships Sprint Relay: Sweden success in title defence

Sweden powered to victory on the last leg, winning by 1.02 seconds after leading for most of the race. Closest challengers were Great Britain, leading by a second at the final changeover, and the bronze medals went to Norway courtesy of a strong last-leg run by Andrine Benjaminsen.

Sweden has now won all four WOC Sprint Relays from 2017 onwards.

Sweden showed authority from the start, Lina Strand in her 9th WOC running strongly and establishing a 17-second lead over Swiss Simona Aebersold at the changeover. Max Peter Bejmer made no significant error on the second leg, but in the second half of this leg several teams made a 30-45 second error at an unexpected site – with some very clear features where elite runners would not be expected to go wrong. Following this GBR took second place, which Kris Jones held comfortably on third leg, even getting just ahead of Gustav Bergman SWE on the approach to the final changeover.

Tove Alexandersson demonstrated her usual strength and speed, and although Megan Carter Davies for GBR kept her in sight for a good portion of the course, Alexandersson got well in front through the final forking.

Norway ended 1.41 down on Sweden, with Switzerland 6 seconds further down, just ahead of Denmark after a sprint finish. Final podium place went to France.

The race took place in the complex old city centre of Kolding, Denmark, with the arena in a courtyard setting beside the impressive castle, on a hill. Route choice involved railway and river as well as narrow streets, alleyways and back yards. It was a hot afternoon but dry with a good breeze – ideal for the huge crowd that packed the arena area.

Next is the Knock-Out Sprint on Tuesday, with qualification in the morning. The qualifications as well as the final stages will be followed by the blog on IOF Live’s twitter feed, so log on to find how your nation’s competitors are faring.

Sprint Relay results

  1. Sweden (Lina Strand, Max Peter Bejmer, Gustav Bergman, Tove Alexandersson)
  2. Great Britain (Charlotte Ward, Ralph Street, Kris Jones, Megan Carter Davies) + 1.02
  3. Norway (Ane Dyrkorn, Lukas Liland, Kasper Harlem Fosser, Andrine Benjaminsen) + 1.41
  4. Switzerland + 1.47
  5. Denmark + 1.49
  6. France + 1.52

All photos: IOF / William Hollowell