Baklid and Lindkvist world champions in pursuit

Gold medals went to Norway and Sweden in today’s thrilling pursuit races at the World Ski Orienteering Championships in Finland – Jørgen Baklid was fastest in the men’s race, while Linda Lindkvist stayed calm at the end to win her first world championship.

The sun shone today on the Kallin Skicenter, where the men’s class was the first to start at 10:00 EET. Due to the tight race in yesterday’s sprint, it was an eventful start with many athletes within seconds. And a group of about 8 athletes formed on the first loop.

The defining moment came just after the first exchange of cards, when Norway’s Jørgen Baklid took the lead on the second loop and never looked back – skiing fast with no noticeable mistakes. Yesterday’s silver medalist, Finland’s Tuomas Kotro was just as fast on the many tight tracks and took another silver. There were 16 seconds between Baklid and Kotro just before the final loop, but Baklid stayed calm and held a strong lead until the finish line.

Switzerland’s Nicola Müller finished third and secured the bronze medal after a fantastic final loop, where he rose from eighth place and won the sprint ahead of Finland’s Eevert Toivonen, who finished fourth for the second consecutive day.

Excitement until the end
For a long time, the women’s event seemed like a clear win for Finland’s Salla Koskela, who clinched a silver medal by two yesterday and got off to a strong start in today’s pursuit race. While most of her closest rivals made mistakes on the first checks, she avoided losing time and had a lead of almost 1 minute after 5 km.

She stayed in the lead until shortly before the last exchange of cards, when the Finn forgot a control and had to turn around and go back. This opened up the race completely, and Sweden’s Linda Lindkvist and Frida Sandberg as well as Norway’s Anna Ulvensøen suddenly had the gold medal within reach.

Other small mistakes were made during the final checks, and Linda Lindkvist took the fastest route choices and crossed the finish line with a clear margin of 9 seconds, winning her first world championship. Salla Koskela won the silver sprint just ahead of Anna Ulvensøen, while Frida Sandberg finished in fourth place a few seconds behind.

Thursday is a rest day and the WSOC continues on Friday with the WSOC Middle Distance, which also serves as the final round of the IOF Orienteering Ski World Cup and the U23 World Cup.

The HQ web-tv stream with English commentary will begin at 12:30 p.m. EET (UTC+2) – Get your ticket here: https://orienteering.sport/event/world-ski-orienteering-championship/middle/

The SkiO World Cup ranking is available here.

JWSOC and EYSOC athletes will race for the middle distance medals today – get the results here.

Best Results, WSOC Pursuit

Women

  1. Linda Lindkvist, SWE 70:45
  2. Salla Koskela, FIN 70:54
  3. Anna Ulvensøen NOR 70:56
  4. Frida Sandberg, SW 71:09
  5. Daisy Kudre Schnyder, EST 71:52
  6. Anna Magdalena Olsson, SW 72:23

Men

  1. Jorgen Baklid NOR 69:02
  2. Tuomas Kotro, END 69:36
  3. Nicola Muller, CHE 70:03
  4. Eevert Toivoinen, FIN 70:06
  5. City Petteri Saarela, FIN 70:19
  6. Stanimir Belomajev, BUL 70:22

(Race times are combined sprint + pursuit)

Dino J. Dotson