Local delight as 19-year old Viatkina wins women’s cross-country skiing pursuit
Marina Viatkina and Sergey Gorlanov continued Russia’s gold rush of medals at the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk by winning the women’s and men’s cross-country skiing pursuit titles.
Victory for Viatkina was greeted with particular delight by the home fans as the 19 year old was competing very much on her home territory of Siberia.
After the individual ski orienteering races the day before, athletes left the start line at the Raduga Cluster at time intervals based on their finishes in the sprint.
The men’s course was about nine kilometres long with the athletes expected to cross the finish line in around 35 to 40 minutes.
Russian Vladislav Kiselev was the first to start, with Norway’s Audun Heimdal following four seconds later, and Russia’s Sergey Gorlanov a further seven seconds behind. Gorlanov caught up with Kiselev soon after the start whilst Norwegian did their best to keep pace with the leaders.
As athletes select their own route options in cross-country skiing pursuit, the advantage gained by Gorlanov was not obvious until the 14th control point. At that moment it was clear that the Russian had chosen the optimal route and it would be difficult for anyone to challenge him until he crossed the finish line. Gorlanov came in first in a time of 34.38 minutes to take the gold medal, with Kiselyov 10 seconds ahead of Finland’s Misa Tuomala to take silver.
The women’s pursuit was over 7.5 kilometres and yesterday’s sprint winner, Liisa Nenonen from Finland, started the race with an 11 second advantage. However that was soon nullified before the first control point as she was overtaken by her teammate Mirka Suutari and 19-year-old Russian Marina Viatkina.
From there Viatkina took the lead and at the 12th control point the local girl from Siberia had gained more than a minute’s advantage over the Finnish rivals. The Russian then continued to widen the gap eventually coming in first in a great time of 31.38 minutes. Suutari and Liisa Nenonen from Finland had a fascinating fight at the finish; the former going one better than yesterday by taking silver in a time of 33.19 seconds, two seconds ahead of her compatriot.
Ski-Orienteering is making its Winter Universiade debut this yeat and Tuesday’s first day of action saw Russia’s Vladislav Kiselev winning the men’s race in a time of 15:46. Heimdal finished second just 0:04 seconds off the leader with Gorlanov rounding up the podium with bronze.
The women’s sprint saw a close finish won by Nenonen in a time of 14:04, ahead of Viatkina who finished 0:21 seconds behind in second and Suutari in third only 0:37 seconds back
The Russian brilliance on both the ski tracks and shooting range was evident during the second of five biathlon competition days as the host nation claimed all the podium positions in both the men’s and women’s sprint event.
Clean-shooting by Dmitrii Ivanov of Russia was not quite nearly enough to hold off compatriot Eduard Latypov as the latter turned his silver medal performance from Monday in the men’s individual 20 kilometre event into gold at the Biathlon Academy Multifunctional Complex. Nikita Porshnev, winner in that men’s individual contest, missed one target and finished with the bronze.
Fast skiing got the better of inconsistent shooting during the women’s sprint competition as Russia again swept the board, taking out all of the top six places. Yeketerina Moshkova’s single misses in both the prone and standing shooting stages were enough to hold off Irina Kazakevich by 2.9 seconds to earn her gold.
After shooting clean in the prone position and hitting her first shot in standing, Moshkova looked poised to ski away with the second women’s biathlon gold medal of this Winter Universiade. Two subsequent misses, though, left the final result entirely in doubt as the Moshkova headed for home with a six second advantage. It proved to be just enough as she held on to the victory by a 2.9 second final advantage over Kazakevich who tallied three penalty loops for her silver medal performance.
Bronze medalist Tamara Voronina turned a solid ski performance into a podium position despite missing one target in each of the times through the shooting range. Natalya Gerbulova, winner of the individual race, found herself just outside of the medals as she missed four targets as Russia rounded out the top six with Valeria Vasnetsova in fifth and Elizaveta Kaplina in sixth.
The performance of the Czech women’s biathletes saw them make up the next three places after the Russian athletes. Eliška Svobodová was among the leaders after the first shooting with Barbora Smetanova the only biathlete to clean all 10 targets.
There was drama in the final of the men’s cross-country skiing which was eventually won by Russia’s Alexander Terentev.
A host nation trio of Andrei Sobakarev, Ivan Yakimushkin and Terentev were well in contention throughout along with Kazakhstan’s Asset Dyussenov, and it was Yakimushkin was the first to cross the finish line. However, shortly after the finish, it was declared he was disqualified for holding an opponent’s pole with the gold going to Terentev, with Dyussenov promoted to silver and Sobakarev, who was just over two minutes further back, claiming the bronze.
In the women’s race, Petra Hynčicová representing the Czech Republic came from fourth position to take the lead in the final straight and claim the gold medal. Khristina Matsokina ended up second and with silver, whilst Polina Nekrasova claimed the bronze medal.
Sopka Cluster hosted snowboarders competing for two sets of medals in the parallel slalom which again went the way of the host nation.
Milena Bykova won gold in the women’s series final from Natalia Soboleva who took silver, with Korea’s Haerim Jeong adding bronze and one more medal to the gold she won on Tuesday.
Dmitry Karlagachev made it a double for Russia by winning the men’s series with the podium positions of the women’s competition repeated. Karlagachev edged out compatriot Dmitry Sarsembayev in the gold medal decider, whilst Korea’s Sangho Lee thwarted a host nation 1-2-3 by taking bronze at the expense of Dmitry Loginov.
Russia and Sweden’s women will face off for gold having reached the final of the women’s Bandy tournament.
Bandy is a form of hockey and a team winter sport played on ice in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball – not a puck – into the opposing team’s goal. Whereas ice hockey is played with six players, in bandy the rink is larger as both teams have eleven players.
The second semi-final of the women’s Bandy tournament saw world champions Sweden come up against Norway, and with the Swedish star trio of Linnea Larsson, Ida Friman and Matilda Svenler in fine form the “Tre Kronor” made it through to the gold medal match against the hosts thanks to a 12-1 victory. Russia had already qualified having yesterday beaten the USA by an equally comprehensive scoreline of 10-1.
The final game between Sweden and Russia and the third place play-off between Norway and USA will be held on 8 March at the Yenisei Ice Stadium.