Tight races in Finland as WSOC starts with sprint

The men’s and women’s categories were separated by a split second when the athletes set off to the World Ski Orienteering Championships in Finland with the sprint distance on Tuesday afternoon.

The race area offered a dense network of narrow tracks combined with wider paths creating a difficult number of route choices for athletes.

And the Finnish men seemed to manage their home ground better, as Ville Petteri Saarela won his first international title with a time of 11.47min. beating fellow Finn Tuomas Kotro by one second. Final starter Rasmus Wickbom of Sweden was three seconds behind the winner and claimed his first senior medal after showing great form at WUSOC in late February.

Norwegian Jørgen Baklid led the race at halfway, but a small error on the way to Control 6 sent him back a fraction of fourth.

Estonia’s Daisy Kudre Schnyder managed to defend her WSOC title in the sprint last year, even though her four-second lead after 1.6 km was down to just one second over the finish line.

Here, Anna Magdalena Olsson, Swede and Finland’s Salla Koskela shared the women’s silver medal with the same time.

Today’s results mean tomorrow’s chase will be exciting from the start, with Daisy Kudre Schnyder and Ville Petteri Saarela chased from the start.

The Web-tv broadcast of Wednesday’s chase will begin at 9:50 a.m. EET (UTC+2) – Get your ticket here.

The pursuit race is 15.1 and 17.6 km. for women and men respectively with an estimated winning time of 60 minutes.

The reigning world pursuit champion is Sweden’s Lisa Larsen, who finished 12and today and Audun Heimdal of Norway, who is not at the WSOC due to injury.

Best results, WSOC Sprint

Women

1 Daisy Kudre Schnyder, EST 11:36

2 Anna Magdalena Olsson, SW 11.37

2 Salla Koskela, END 11:37

4 Frida Sandberg, SW 11:46

5 Anna Ulvensøen NOR 11:59

6 Sonja Morsky, END 12:06

Men

1 City Petteri Saarela, FIN 11:47

2 Tuomas Kotro, FIN 11.48

3 Rasmus Wickbom, SW 11.50am

4 Jorgen Baklid NOR 11:54

4 Eevert Toivoinen, FIN 11:54

6 Henrik Fredriksen Aas, NOR 12:06

Dino J. Dotson