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Russian women: “We decided it was not smart to get stressed”

Wild celebrations at the finish!                                                   Photo: Erik Borg

When the Russians were in the quarantine, they heard that in the earlier men’s race the runners were making a lot of mistakes. That influenced the tactics for the Russians.

Natalia Gemperle started out first on the final leg, but Merja Rantanen in the Finnish team started just three seconds after her. “During the leg I thought I had lost Merja three times due to my poor route choices, but each time she showed up again”, smiles Natalia.

The Finn made some mistakes and thought, coming to the finish, that the team was going to be fifth. But in fact it ended with bronze, the first medals for Finland in the Championships. Maja Alm ran a great last leg to give Denmark the silver medals.

Better and better

For Gemperle the Championships started with disqualification on the Sprint, then medals in all the forest races and gold in the very last one.

The Russians were extremely happy. “We have made history”, Natalia smiles. Russia has taken gold in the women’s relay at WOC for the first time. Silver eight years ago was the only previous medal for Russia in the women’s relay.

The smart choice

Svetlana Mironova won the individual Long Distance two years ago. Now she has a relay gold too. The 30-year-old Russian says the girls were talking about how to do the relay. “When we were in the quarantine, we heard that a lot of mistakes were being made in the men’s race. We decided we had to run carefully and without mistakes”.

Anastasia Rudnaya started for Russia. She was fourth, but just four seconds down on the lead. Russia had got a great start. Last leg runner Gemperle thought it was a bit ‘now or never’, but of course there is more to win. “I’m still missing an individual gold”, she smiles. Before WOC in Strömstad she hadn’t been on any training camp in the district for WOC. Later this autumn she will go to Estonia and prepare for next year.

Followed her sister

For Natalia it was also a follow up of her sister Olga. She has WOC golds in MTBO and won one earlier this year, just ten months after becoming a mum.

The three legs in the women’s class were from 4.7 to 5.1 kilometres. In all there were 41 controls: 13 controls on both the first two legs and 15 on the last one.


With the Relay the Nokian Tyres World Orienteering championship is over. Next year Estonia will host the year’s premier orienteering event.



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