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13 • 01 • 2016

FIS cross country skiing competition this weekend in Priekuli

This weekend on 16th and 17th January Latvian Skiing association in cooperation with Olympic centre Cesis and “A-Madona” organises the first stage of Latvian championships in cross country skiing, which will take place in famous Priekuli Skiing and biathlon complex. For the six year in a row this will be also a FIS race and therefore besides local nation also representatives of several other countries will compete. As usually middle distance in classical style and free technique with interval starts are on competition programme.

It has been a tradition that in the middle of January Priekuli hosts the opening stage of Latvian championships in cross country skiing. Also this year is no exception. But the only difference is that competition will not be the first FIS race of the year in Latvia, because last weekend in Madona Lithuanian championships were held in FIS status. There competed six nations and also in Priekuli round that number of nations could participate. Often guests are Estonians and Lithuanians, and in addition to them Canadian second team has participated there in 2014 just before the Olympics, but this year they will not come to first stage in Priekuli. For the fifth time the South American country, the host of this year’s Summer Olympic games, Brasil will be present in Priekuli.

The first day is 10km for men and 5km for women in classical style, but on Sunday the same length of distance athletes will have to ski in a free technique. The usual lap of 2,5km, including two climbs, will be prepared. Last year in classical style on mens side dominated Estonians, occupying first four spots with Marti Himma in first place, but in free technique in the middle of competition it started to snow, changing conditions and helping early starters. Therefore Latvian Oskars Muiznieks, benefiting from that, took convincing victory, leaving Lithuanian biathlete Tomas Kaukenas in the second by more than minute. Another Lithuanian biathlete Diana Rasimoviciute-Brice won the ladies 5km free technique race, leaving behind two promising youngsters from Estonia and Latvia.

This year again coming lots of Estonians, bringing even stronger squad than last year. We will see the top30 finisher in World cup sprints Triin Ojaste, as well as Kati and Karel Tammjarv. Kati was second in Priekuli in 2014, but Karel was also second three years ago, so brother and sister pair “”Tammjarvs” would like to take highest spot for the first time in Latvia, but they have to face strong challenge from their own juniors like surprise maker in World Junior championships last year in Kazakhstan Karel Korge, successful man of 2012 World junior championships and winner in Priekuli in 2014 Johannes Alev, as well as descendants of Olympic champions Andreus Veerpalu – Andreas and Anette, podium place winners last weekend in FIS race in Madona Seila Peek and Piret Parnik. In U18 group one of the favourites will be Mariel Pulles and Stine Lise True. Although we do not expect such a big squad of Lithuanians as it was last Sunday with more than 30 men on starting list, but besides Sundays race winner Stepan Terentjev, who at the moment is the only registered Lithuanian, should be more skiers from our south neighbour country. Also host country Latvia have some skiers, who can fight for podium places.

Besides FIS groups, which will race in the morning part, also several youth groups will compete as well. Although initially it was promised very cold weather, now it seems than only Saturday morning will be more than minus 15. 

Good luck to everyone and lets meet in Priekuli this weekend.

Ivars Bacis

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