Norway won the men’s relay

On the first leg the runners were mostly in one big group, with two attempts to break away from the rest. First the French baroudeur Matthieu Perrin managed to get a small gap, but lost it because of a wrong exit direction from the 5th control. The second try was by Finland’s Akseli Ruohola, which almost succeeded if not for Norway’s Kasper Fosser, who caught up with the Finn and together they came to the changeover with a lead of half a minute to the chasers.

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On the second leg Norway’s Elias Jonsson drew away from all rivals. Finland’s Aleksi Sorsa fell behind Jonsson and was caught by the chasing group because of an unsuccesful route choice to the the first control. After that while Norway moved slowly further away from other countries, the big group broke apart and saw some changes among the main contenders for the medals. By the changeover Norway’s lead was one and a half minutes in front of Finland’s second team (Topi Syrjäläinen) and Russia’s Kirill Komarov.

On the last leg most of the teams had their strongest runners. Norway’s Audun Heimdal kept his cool and good speed and brought Norway to finish as world champion. The battle for the second and third places was exciting. In addition to Finland’s second team (Ollipekka Heikkilä) and Russia (Mikhail Kuleshov), Norway’s second team (Einar Melsom) and Finland’s first team (Olli Ojanaho) also joined the fight. At the runthrough even Norway’s double victory seemed possible, but a big mistake to the 8th control by Melsom erased those hopes. Among the other three boys chasing Heimdal, Ojanaho was the strongest and finished second with the best leg time of the day, Kuleshov, who tried to beat Ojanaho by choosing different route choices on the last loop, was left third.

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Sweden’s first gold

The big group broke apart already on the first loop of the first leg with three of the big favourites – Switzerland, Sweden and Norway – being the runaways. On the second loop of the first leg the leading trio split into two: Norway’s Victoria Haestad Bjornstad ran away from Sweden’s Lisa Jonsson Nordin and Switzerland’s Valerie Aebischer and at the finish changed over with a whole 2 min lead to the Swede and the Swiss.

On the second leg Norway’s Ingrid Lundanes managed to keep the lead, although it shrank down to 1.17 at the changeover. Behind the Norwegian it was a bit more hectic. By the end of the first loop France (Florence Hanauer) and Denmark (Agnes Kracht) had caught up with Sweden (Sanna Fast) and Switzerland (Sofie Bachmann), but during the last loop Fast and Bachmann regained their positions and at the changeover the top three was again in the same order: Norway first, Sweden second (+1.17) and Switzerland third (+1.58).

On the third leg Norway’s (Marie Olaussen) lead shrank away very quickly and already at the 2nd control Sweden’s Linnea Golsater had taken the lead. By the 5th control also Switzerland’s Simona Aebersold passed the Norwegian and started to chase Golsater. On the last loop Golsater did better orienteering and Aebersold was unable to catch her. Sweden got their first gold medal of this year’s JWOC, Switzerland had to content with the silver (+1.37) and Norway, although being in the lead during most of the race, got bronze (+5.01).

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