Niggli and Lundanes are the European Middle distance Champions
The European Orienteering Championship was officially inaugurated by the Governor of Dalarna Maria Norrfalk,and then the medal battle begun.
Men Middle Final
Norwegian athletes celebrated the Norwegian National Day by two medals today. Olav Lundanes masterfully won the 6,2 km race, 1:19 ahead of the defending European Champion Valentin Novikov from Russia. Lundanes’ compatriot Carl Waaler Kaas took bronze, 1:34 behind the winner.
“It was almost as expected – maybe a bit more green and yellow, but the course was as we made it yesterday,” Lundanes said after the race. “There was a small route choice were I lost some time, at least to Carl. But except for that it was a very good race for me.”
“I have never seen the same terrain before,” the silver medalists Novikov described. “And it was sometimes very hard to understand the map for me. With 10 days more training it could have been better,” the Russian athlete said.
The reigning World Champion Thierry Gueorgiou from France did not start due to a shin inflammation.
Women Middle Final
Simone Niggli made an impressive comeback after her second maternity break last year. She defeated the second Minna Kauppi from Finland by 1:25 and Tatiana Ryabkina from Russia by 1:39 minute on 5,2 km course.
“I am happy about the race. It’s great to be back in such a good shape. And it was beautiful terrain with a nice course,” Niggli commended the EOC race and her performance.
The silver medalist Minna Kauppi admitted she was quite nervous before the race. “Everything was not as I had wanted it to be so I was more nervous than usually. But otherwise I was quite ready to fight for the medals,” the Finnish star said. “I am very happy to be back here and competing, because it could have been I would have not even been here, because of some stuff (heart muscle inflammation) I was suffering from during the winter, but now I am happy to be here and happy to be on the podium.”
Also the bronze medalist Tatiana Ryabkina was content with her race: “I did a good race without any mistakes, just maybe some route choices which were not the best but overall it was not so bad. So I am very satisfied with my race today.”