On the second step of the podium the Swiss national team, followed by Finland.
Grand finale on Sunday, October 8 in Vicenza, to declare the Sprint Knock-Out and World Cup winners.
The Swedish flag soars on the podium of the Sprint Relay of the European Orienteering Championships 2023 in Veneto, valid as World Cup finals. After the Sprint titles were awarded in Verona, the picturesque village of Soave was the setting for the crushing victory of Sweden (1:02:35) over the Swiss national team (1:03:11) in the relay challenge (Women-Man-Man-Woman) starting close to the medieval walls of the Scaliger city, Italy’s Most Beautiful Village 2022.
Trailed by Sara Hagström and Tove Alexandersson, gold and silver medalists respectively in the Sprint, the Swedish team, completed by Jonatan Gustafsson and Martin Regborn, pulled a full 36 seconds ahead of the Swiss team, despite the push of newly crowned European champion Matthias Kyburz and bronze medalist Simona Aebersold along with Joey Hadorn and Elena Roos. An important revenge after losing the title by almost a minute in the 2021 edition. On the third step was Finland (1:03:28), which saw Inka Nurminen, Teemu Oksanen, Tuomas Heikkila, and Venla Harju take the field. Among the 25 teams at the start, Italy’s Caterina Dallera, Francesco Mariani, Riccardo Scalet and Maddalena De Biasi placed 12th (1:07:50). For the competition the live regional TV coverage by Telechiara in addition to TV coverage by 10 different European broadcasters.
For the first time in Italy, the European Orienteering Championships 2023 will see 2,000 total participants representing 39 countries running with map and compass in the 8 days of competitions, including competitive and promotional, in 10 different municipalities. The event, under the aegis of IOF-International Orienteering Federation and FISO-Italian Orienteering Sport Federation, boasts the patronage of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Sport and Health, Veneto Regional Council, Province of Verona and Vicenza, Municipalities of Verona, Soave and Vicenza, along with charity partners Don Mazzi Youth Centers and Città della Speranza Foundation.
“Very nice to compete with others in this event in Soave – says Swedish second fractionist Jonatan Gustafsson – Today was my first Relay of the European Championships and I was very nervous. I made some mistakes, but fortunately they did not affect the result, managing not to lose important seconds. Amazing to win this gold medal”.
Present at the awards ceremony were Soave Mayor Matteo Pressi, Deputy Mayor Roberto Montanari and Sports Councillor Denis Adami, accompanied by the Provincial Commander of the Carabinieri Colonel Francesco Novi and the Commander of the Soave Guardia di Finanza Captain Federico Mattioni. “We hope that in the setting of this important sporting event – says Mayor Matteo Pressi – you will also have had the opportunity to discover our city, that you will be able to speak well of Soave in your countries, and that you will return soon in the company”.
THE TECHNICAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE COURSE
The two women’s fractions presented a length of 3.7 km with 20 checkpoints, while the two men’s fractions were 4.1 km with 23 checkpoints. The first sections of the map, created by course setter Stefano Zonato, took the athletes out of the historic centre into the residential area. In the second part, the orienteers returned inside the city walls, passing through the small park adjacent to the municipal headquarters at the foot of Scaliger Castle. In this phase the athletes faced the only short climbs present, followed by a quick return outside the walls to the finish area. Finally, another short passage through the historic centre to the finish line for the changeover and the conquest of the finish line.
For the Sprint Knock-Out on October 8, after qualifying in Creazzo (8:30 a.m.-12 p.m.), the best will compete for the title in Vicenza (12 noon-4 p.m.) with finish line in Piazza Matteotti, turning their eyes to the Palladian Teatro Olimpico and Palazzo Chiericati. It will be Tove Alexandersson (Sweden) and Matthias Kyburz (Switzerland) who will have to defend the first European Sprint Knock-Out title.
The promotional events of the EOC Tour also continue, including entertainment, food and wine and music. After Soave, new dates in Alonte (October 7) and Vicenza (October 8). Each date is accompanied by moments of exploration of the area, such as sailing the lake from Peschiera del Garda, home of the event centre Camping Bella Italia, or visits to Parco Natura Viva in Bussolengo and local wineries. The ascent to Mount Baldo by the Malcesine – Mount Baldo Cable Car and the Prada – Costabella Cable Car are spectacular, and in Alonte the walk among the Prosecco vineyards of the Consorzio Tutela Vini Colli Berici e Vicenza followed by a tasting.