Niggli & Lundanes: The European Champions again! Today in Long distance
Another day, another distance – the same winners. Simone Niggli from Switzerland and Olav Lundanes from Norway can celebrate their second gold medals from the 2012 European Orienteering Championships in Dalarna. After winning the Middle distance yesterday, they were the best in the Long distance in Skattungbyn today again.
Women Long Final
The best world orienteer ever Simone Niggli showed again her invincibility and flew through the 9,7 km long course in 61:34 minutes. “It went really, really good today. Long distance is the favourite one in my heart and I really enjoyed it. I took it quite easily in the beginning to have the race under the control and then speed up,” the 9-times European and 17-times World Champion said after her finish.
The second Tatiana Ryabkina from Russia was caught at the end of the course by Niggli who started 3 minutes behind her and finished a minute after the Swiss. The gap between the gold and silver medalists was exactly 4 minutes. “I am very glad with the second place today. I run without mistakes and I think I chose good ways,” the Russian athlete comments her performance.
The yesterday’s silver medalist Minna Kauppi took the bronze today, 34 seconds behind Ryabkina. “It was a solid race, no big mistakes but I really don’t have power I used to have in old good days. But I am happy, anyway,” the Finnish concludes.
The reigning World Champion in this distance Annika Billstam (Sweden) finished as the fifth, just a place after her compatriot 20-years old Tove Alexandersson. Tone Wigemyr from Norway crossed the finish line as the sixth.
Men Long Final
Also Lundanes showed his power today and got his second European gold. 15,4 km long race took him 87:43 minutes. “It was a good technical race. The speed was not as fast as yesterday, but of course it was a good race today also. I am absolutely satisfied,” the 24-years old Norwegian said.
The experienced Swiss, Matthias Merz, lost 1:05 to Lundanes, but beat the third Valentin Novikov from Russia by 25 seconds. “It was a tough finish. I pushed hard to the end, I knew it was close with Novikov,” the silver medalist describes. “I feel comfortable in this terrain after some training here, but such terrain is not really usual for us,” the Swiss adds.
“I was in very good shape from the start to the finish. But I am not sure about the best route choices,” Novikov comments his race.
Anders Nordberg from Norway stayed 56 seconds behind the medal on the fourth place, Swiss Marc Lauenstein was the fifth and the place on the podium was taken Oleksandr Kratov from Ukraine.
Friday was also the day when the European Trail-Orienteering Championship (ETOC) started in Falun by the TempO Trophy – the speed version of trail orienteering (all decisions are made against the clock). See the results here.