The first day of Euromeeting 2016.23 September was the first day of Euromeeting 2016. It was a middle distance race held near Zvārtes iezis. More than 120 athletes from 12 countries started. The woman Elite was won by Marika Teini from Finland and the men elite was won by Frederic Tranchand from France. Though Latvian orienteers are familiar with the terrain, it nevertheless turned out to be complicated enough, and both men and women demonstrated varying success.
The terrain near Zvārtes iezis is very suitable for high-level orienteering races – it features systems of hills and ravines, rivulets and small marshes, which make it challenging for runners.
The orienteer Marika Teini from Finland was the last to start; therefore there was large intrigue both to other participants and the spectators. She was perfect in the last part of the course, leaving Sari Anttonen, another Finnish athlete, as runner-up. It was a mere 6 seconds which prevented Sari to win. The bronze medallist was Denisa Kosova, 1:32 behind the winner.
M.Teini is one of the best Finnish orienteers. After the finish she admitted that the beginning of the course was difficult, but she managed to accommodate herself to the terrain very quickly. In the previous interviews she told that she would use Euromeeting to make herself aware of the physical and technical challenges to be faced in 2018, in the World Orienteering Championships in Latvia. In this year’s WOC Championships in Sweden Teini took the sixth place in middle distance.
Tranchand from France was unbeaten in the men Elite. He is also one of the best runners in the world, ranking No. 9. Timo Sild from Estonia won silver, 50 seconds behind the winner, and bronze went to Miika Kirmula from Finland.
From Latvia, Andris Jubelis with the 9th place was the best in middle distance, improving his last year’s performance. Inga Dambe took the respectable fourth place. The race showed that the terrain, though well-known to Latvian athletes, can be quite demanding.
Middle distance results
1. Frederic Tranchand (FRA France) 32:16 (+ 00:00)
2. Timo Sild (EST Estonia) 33:06 (+ 00:50)
3. Miika Kirmula (FIN Finland) 34:02 (+ 01:46)
4. Jonas Egger (SWI Switzerland) 34:03 (+ 01:47)
5. Jan Sedivy (CZE Czech Republic) 34:26 (+ 02:10)
1. Marika Teini (FIN SK Pohjantahti) 33:54 (+ 00:00)
2. Sari Anttonen (FIN Finland) 34:00 (+ 00:06)
3. Denisa Kosova (CZE Czech Republic) 35:26 (+ 01:32)
4. Inga Dambe (LAT Latvia) 35:27 (+ 01:33)
5. Johanna Hulkkonen (FIN Koovee) 35:38 (+ 01:44)