Sweden and Russia honoured, once again, the position of leading nations of the European Ski Orienteering Championships 2017, achieving a gold medal each in the Relay that put an ending on the event.
The last Final of the European Ski Orienteering Championships 2017 knew several nuances, turning the victory's momentum into a constant fight along three exciting legs. In the Men Class, the first leg allowed Russia and Sweden to confirm the condition of natural favourites to the European title, followed by the Bulgarian team, led by Stanimir Belomazhev, and the vibrantly applauded home team, Finland, after a remarkable performance of Tero Linnainmaa. The particular duel between Ulrik Nordberg, Sweden and the Russians Eduard Khrennikov and Kiril Veselov, in the second leg, showed the plus sign clearly moving to Nordberg's side, who would pass the testimony to Erik Rost with a 1:25 advantage over the runner-up, Eduard Khrennikov, from Russia 2. But Rost didn't have an easy entry on the map and was eventually caught by Sergei Gorlanov in the second half of the final leg, against the impotence of Russian Andrey Lamov to shorten a nearly two-minute disadvantage to the lead. From this moment, there was a tremendous battle between the two top contenders, with the biggest experience of the Swedish adding value over the Russian's youth. In the end, gold for Sweden with the overall time of 1:30:11, with Russia finishing in second place, 15 seconds after the winners. The bronze medal was reached by Finland, with an overall time of 1:32:30.
In the Women class, Russia, Sweden and Finland took the lead since the beginning, with the two teams from each of the three nations finishing the first leg separated by only 17 seconds. Finland lost contact to the lead in the second leg, with Sweden and Russia fighting shoulder by shoulder and having a six-second difference between them at the start for the third leg. With everything ready to watch another exciting match between Tove Alexandersson and Mariya Kechkina, the great Swedish athlete, leader of the World Ranking and European Champion of Sprint and Long Distance currently, experienced lots of difficulties along the race, finishing in the third place. Russia recorded an overall time of 1:27:35 in the end, against 1:28:24 from Finland, after an amazing performance of Salla Koskela, faster than anyone in the last leg by more than two minutes. In the sum of medals achieved in this edition of the European Ski Orienteering Championships, Russia stand out with five gold medals, three silver medals and five bronze medals. Sweden, with three gold medals, three silver and two bronze, Norway, with one gold medal and Finland, with three silver medals and two bronze, closed the event's Board of Honour.
1. Sweden (Martin Hammarberg, Ulrik Nordberg, Erik Rost) 1:30:11 (+ 00:00)
2. Russia (Vladimnir Barchukov, Eduard Khrennikov, Sergey Gorlanov) 1:30:26 (+ 00:15)
3. Finland (Tero Linnainmaa, Jyri Uusitalo, Ville Petteri Saarela) 1:32:30 (+ 02:18)
4. Norway (Bjornar Kvale, Oeyvind Watterdal, Lars Moholdt) 1:32:56 (+ 02:44)
5. Latvia (Raivo Kivlenieks, Andris Kivlenieks, Nauris Raize) 1:35:16 (+ 05:04)
6. Czech Republic (Jakub Skoda, Petr Horvat, Radek Laciga) 1:35:17 (+ 05:05)
1. Russia (Alena Trapeznikova, Polina Frolova, Mariya Kechkina) 1:27:35 (+ 00:00)
2. Finland (Mirka Suutari, Marjut Turunen, Salla Koskela) 1:28:24 (+ 00:49)
3. Sweden (Frida Sandberg, Magdalena Olsson, Tove Alexandersson) 1:28:52 (+ 01:17)
4. Czech Republic (Petra Hancova, Johanka Simkova, Kristyna Kolinova) 1:39:57 (+ 12:22)
Complete results and further information at http://skiofinland.fi/en.