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European Championships: Finland wins women’s relay

Merja Rantanen gives all on the run-in                            Photos: Erik Borg

Finland won the women’s relay, courtesy of an exceptional last-leg run by Merja Rantanen. The silver medals went to Sweden and the bronze to Russia.

The two RUS teams with first leg runners Anastasiia Rudnaia and Yulia Novikova led throughout the leg and Rudnaia at the changeover was 30 seconds ahead of Lina Strand SWE. FIN, CZE and SUI were the next three teams through. Emma Johansson, running second leg for SWE, got ahead by 15 seconds at control 3 but this was soon clawed back, Natalia Vinogradova getting in front for the next few controls. By the changeover to the last leg, the lead had extended to 1.07, with SWE second and the other RUS team third.

Merja Rantanen took over for FIN in fifth place and gradually pulled up to be second at the final radio point. A frantic finish saw Rantanen reach the line 4 seconds ahead of Tove Alexandersson SWE, with Svetlana Mironova RUS a further 11 seconds down.

FIN women relay 28-5-16

Three happy Finns

The overall strength of the Finns, Swedes and Russians was demonstrated by the fact that all three countries had both their first and second teams filling the first seven finish positions, with only Switzerland in fourth place intervening.


  1. FIN (Sari Anttonen, Marika Teini, Merja Rantanen) 1:42:57
  2. SWE (Lina Strand, Emma Johansson, Tove Alexandersson) 1:43:01
  3. RUS (Anastasiia Rudnaia, Natalia Vinogradova, Svetlana Mironova) 1:43:12

Then SUI  1:43:18, CZE  1:47:44, DEN  1:49:31


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