On the 29th of february the ski-orienteering championship in Obertilliach / Osttirol has started with the first competition. In the Sprint Competition over four kilometers the Norwegian Lars Moholdt won the first race, also with the ladies a Scandinavian won the first goldmedal. The Swede Tove Alexandersson won in front of three Russians. No Austrian made it among the top 20th.
The competition began with delay, on the night from Sunday to Monday more than 40 centimeters of snow fell in Obertilliach. The organizers and local helpers nevertheless prepared a competition-standard track. The continuing snowfall still made difficult conditions, especially in the forest the tracks for the athletes were very challenging.
The first decision - the Women's Sprint - won the 23-year old Swede Tove Alexandersson with a time of 14 minutes and 28 seconds. "Today was a difficult race, but i am of course very happy with the first place. I look forward to the upcoming competions." says Alexandersson after the race. The Swede thus prevented a Russian triple victory, Alena Trapeznikova (+ 0:31), Mariya Kechkina (+ 1:06) and Tatyana Oboina (+ 01:21) took places two to four. The best Austrian was Sonja Zinkel (+ 4:02) at the 24th place. Alexandersson has underlined her good performance of the season, and her two gold medals at the World Cup in 2015, with the victory in Obertilliach.
Lars Moholdt won the title in the sprint distance at mens stage. The 30-year-old Norwegian won ahead of Russian Andrey Lamov (+ 00:36). Third place was shared by the Swiss Christian Spoerry (+ 00:44) and the Swede Ulrik Nordberg (+ 00:44). Moholdt is also favorite to win in the long distance (Wednesday, 11 am start), last year he won at the World Cup in this discipline. "I wanted to stay without mistakes today. Furthermore I am very happy." says Moholdt. The Austrian Simon Kugler finshed the race on the 23th place with more than three minutes delay to Moholdt.
Event director Hans-Georg Gratzer praises all helpers after the first day: "Without the local people and the other volunteers today a race would have been not possible. So we can look back on a good first day of competion with very difficult snow conditions." Tomorrow the European championship will be continued with a team competition, at 14:00 the Mixed sprint relay starts.