Traubaite and Ekström took their first SkiO World Cup wins in Estonia

Both Judita Traubaite (LTU) and Niklas Ekström (FIN) claimed the top spot on the World Cup podium for the first time, when this year’s World Cup Final kicked off Friday morning in Haanja, Estonia.

The event consists of three individual races, that all count in the Ski Orienteering World Cup and today’s challenge was a sprint race of 3,5 and 3,9 kilometers for women and men respectively.

Judita Traubaite was one of the first ahtletes in the ski tracks this morning, as she started fourth out of the 44 participants in the women’s class.

And after 18:26 minutes on her skis, the 23-year-old Lithuanian took the lead that would last all the way through the race.

The current World Cup-leader Magdalena Olsson (SWE) was 5 seconds slower in second position, with her biggest rival to the overall title, Anna Ulvensøen (NOR) 5 seconds further behind in third.

Women’s top 3. Photo by Reigo Teervalt

Niklas Ekström took an even more superior win in the men’s class, where the 21-year-old Finn beat Stanimir Belomazhev (BUL) by 10 seconds and was joined by compatriot Aapo Vippola on the podium in third sport.

Jørgen Baklid (NOR), who leads the overall World Cup after three golds at WSOC, came in fourth and had rival Nicola Müller (SUI) just behind him in fifth place.

Men’s top 3. Photo by Reigo Teervalt

Dive into today’s results at IOF LIVE

Commanding leads in the World Cup
In the overall World Cup standings, Magdalena Olsson now leads by 105 points to Anna Ulvensøen. Behind them Elin Schagerström (SWE) climbed to third spot as she overtook Linda Lindkvist (SWE), who will not race in Estonia due to illness.

Jørgen Baklid still has a huge lead in the men’s class, but Niklas Ekström jumped to second spot after his win today. He is 95 points behind the Norwegian. Nicola Müller holds third place, just 10 points further down.

Go to World Cup standings

U23 golds for Sweden and Finland
The first U23 SkiO World Champions of the year were also crowned and Sweden’s Ella Turesson won today’s sprint gold medal after finishing fourth among the women. Maria Hoskari and Amanda Yli Futka (both FIN) followed on the subsequent positions.

Niklas Ekström is still just 21 and won his U23 gold by more than a minute. Last year he and Jonatan Ståhl (SWE) tied for the U23 sprint gold, but today Ståhl had to settle for silver with another Finn, Toumas Outinen grabbing the bronze two seconds behind Ståhl.

Pursuit race on IOF TV
Today’s results decide the start lists for Saturday’s long distance pursuit race, where Niklas Ekström will lead the way for the men’s class at 10:30 EET (UTC+2) and Judita Traubaite begins at 11:45 in the women’s.

IOF TV starts the broadcast at 10:20 (UTC+2), with English commentary by Linus Rapp.

Get your IOF TV ticket here

Top results:
1 Judita Traubaite, LTU 18:26
2 Magdalena Olsson, SWE + 0:05
3 Anna Ulvensøen, NOR + 0:10
4 Ella Turesson, SWE + 0:47
5 Daisy Kudre Schnyder, EST + 0:48
6 Maria Hoskari, FIN + 1:11

1 Niklas Ekström, FIN 17:17
2 Stanimir Belomazhev, BUL + 0:10
3 Aapo Viippola, FIN + 0:17
4 Jørgen Baklid, NOR + 0:25
5 Nicola Müller, SUI + 0:55
6 Eevert Toivonen, FIN +1:01