The SkiO Championships of the season begin on Saturday

The best elite orienteering skiers are heading to Bulgarian ski resort Chepelare for the European, World Under-23 and World Masters Orienteering Ski Championships, which kick off this weekend. The European Championships (ESOC) also count as the first round of the 2022 SkiO World Cup. Fifteen nations will be represented at ESOC, with 65 men and 56 women entered for three individual races, a Sprint Relay and a Standard Relay .

Nations can enter up to 6 men and 6 women in the individual ESOC races, two teams of 2 people in the Sprint relay and 2 men’s teams and 2 women’s teams of 3 people in the relay.

The U-23 World Championships, for athletes aged 23 and under, will be decided on the results of the ESOC races. The Masters World Championships are held in 5-year-old age classes ranging from M/W 35 to M/W 90, and here there are 3 individual races.

All races will take place at the Kartola Alpine Centre, approximately 25 km from Chepelare, which has moderately hilly to hilly terrain consisting of spruce forests and open fields, between 1500 and 1800 meters above sea level.

All the best stars in competition

We can expect great races, because all the athletes who finished in the top 6 of the individual races at last year’s world championships (WSOC – Estonia, February) will compete here too, with the exception of Sweden’s Markus Lundholm. The biggest WSOC star was Daisy Kudre EST with three individual medals (gold in sprint and middleweight, silver in pursuit). Magdalena Olsson SWE, Jørgen Baklid NOR, Audun Heimdal NOR and Vladislav Kiselev RUS all finished with two individual medals.

Sprint relay action from last year’s World Championships

There were some very exciting races in the Sprint Relay at the WSOC, won by Russian pair Alena Trapeznikova and Andrey Lamov, and we can expect the same in Bulgaria as well.

The last ESOC took place in Russia in 2020 and was a triumph for the home country. The reigning ESOC champions this time around, all Russians, are:

Sprint – Alena Trapeznikova and Sergei Gorlanov

Midfielder – Tatiana Oborina and Sergei Gorlanov

Long – Marina Vyatkina and Andrey Lamov

The Russian team of Alena Trapeznikova and Sergey Gorlanov won the Sprint Relay at ESOC 2020; victory in the relays went to Swedish women and Russian men.

The Russian team of this ESOC once again includes the legendary Eduard Khrennikov, now 48 years old!

This year’s entire ESOC event will of course take place under the current Covid regulations as applied in Bulgaria, but like in Estonia last year, this should not affect the quality of the competition. There will be no quarantine, so during the races there will be live results as well as camera feed and arena audio, but GPS tracking and full TV coverage of individual events will not be available. available only after the races.

Reports and key results will appear on this website each race day. For more information, visit the event website, and read Bulletin 4, released today.

ESOC race program (every hour, Eastern European Standard Time, GMT+2)

Saturday, January 22, 11 a.m., Sprint

Sunday January 23, 10 a.m., Relais Sprint

Monday, January 24, 10 a.m., middle distance

Wednesday January 26, 10 a.m., Long Distance (mass start)

Thursday January 27, 11 a.m., Relay

Dino J. Dotson