Long Qualification in Hökberg
Runners from 19 countries into the A-final
Switzerland scored highest today with 12 athletes qualified into the A-final. Finland and the Czech Republic will have 11 runners fighting for the medals and Sweden and Norway 10.
Women Long Qualification
Tatiana Ryabkina (Russia), Simone Niggli (Switzerland) and Merja Rantanen (Finland) won heats in long qualification in Hökberg arena today. The courses were 5,5 km long and winning times for each heat between 38 and 41 minutes. „The EOC program is very tough so I decided to make the long qualification courses rather short, on the lower time limit,“ the course planner Eva Jurenikova explains.
Ryabkina won the A-heat ahead the Swedish runner Lena Eliasson by 41 second. Inga Dambe from Latvia took the third place, 1:42 minutes behind the Russian.
The defending European Champion in long distance Simone Niggli dominated the B-heat. She beat the Finnish star Minna Kauppi by 2:42 minutes. The home runner Tove Alexandersson lost 3:50 minutes to the amazing Swiss.
Smaller differences were in the C-heat where Merja Rantanen won 26 seconds ahead of Tone Wigemyr from Norway and 44 seconds ahead of Sara Lüscher from Switzerland.
Sweden, Russia, Finland and Switzerland will have 6 women in the A-final on Friday in Skattungbyn. The Czech Republic, Great Britain and Lithuania 5 women, Norway 4 and Denmark 2. Other 6 countries (Latvia, Ukraine, France, Estonia, Hungary and Austria) will be represented by one runner in the women A-final.
Men Long Qualification
Dmitry Tsvetkov (Russia), Anders Norberg (Norway) and Olli-Markus Taivainen (Finland) were the best in their qualification heats on 7,9 km long courses.
In the A-heat Tsvetkov defeated Matthias Müller from Switzerland by 59 second. The third place was taken by Audun Hultgreen Weltzien who lost 1:54 minutes to the Russian runner.
Anders Norberg won the B-heat 1:07 ahead of Anders Holmberg from Sweden and 1:42 ahead of Matthias Merz from Switzerland.
In the C-heat with minor time differences Olli-Marcus Taivainen had the best time. The reigning World Champion on this distance Thierry Gueorgiou was 15 seconds behind him. The Swedish athlete Johan Runesson on the third place lost 2 more seconds.
The defending European Champion on long distance Daniel Hubmann did not start today. Due to his problems with a heel last month, he decided to skip this race and focus on shorter distances (middle and sprint) and on relay (read more in the pre-EOC interview or on his webpage). In last 3 European championships this Swiss superstar always took medal in long distance – silver in EOC 2006 and 2008 and gold in 2010.
6 Swiss, Norwegian and Czech and 5 Finnish men will run the A-final. Sweden and Estonia will have 4 runners on the A-final start and Russia, Ukraine and France 3 runners. 8 other countries (Great Britain, Belarus, Austria, Latvia, Germany, Italy, Denmark and Romania) will be also represented in the A-final. All together 17 countries will have their athletes in the men A-final.
A tank car accident close to Mora blocked the traffic in direction to Hökberg this morning and some teams had to take a longer way to the long qualification start. The deadline for quarantine zone was therefore prolonged. Fortunately, all runners made it to the start on time (only the Russian runner Anastasia Tikhonova got a new starting time), so the race was not impacted by this unfortunate accident.