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Athletes and coaches of the Finnish team in a successful mixed relay. Photo: Esa Kinnunen.


Norway is the leader of the relay day - Finland in the mixed relay Fifth

Norway won both the mixed relay and the mixed doubles relay. For Finns, the highlight of the opening weekend of the IBU Cup was the success of the mixed relay team.

Preliminary favorites Norway took their own and convincingly won the IBU Cup medley relay team with Maren Kirkeeide, Emilie Kalkenberg, Johan-Olav Botn and Mats Oeverby. The difference to the second-placed Sweden was more than two minutes.

—We spoke with the coach before the start. He wanted to see an aggressive fighting spirit on the track, and that's what I went to get, said Botn, who skied the third stage.

The Norwegian, who collected three victories in three competitions in Kontiolahti, has had a perfect start to his international season. The program of the IBU Cup continues on Friday in Sweden's Idre Fjälli.

—The slopes of Kontiolahti suit me well. It will be interesting to see if I can maintain this same good level in Sweden, Botn said.

Finland shot strongly  

Finland was Fifth in the mixed relay of 22 countries with Daria Virolainen, Venla Lehtonen, Heikki Laitinen and Jonni Mukkala.

The Finns used seven spare cartridges for shooting, one more than the Norwegian team that relied on them the least and fired the fastest.

—It was a great result from the whole team. The team with such a good place cheated that there really was nothing else to do but get the job done at home, said Mukkala, who had the Italian team behind him in the last leg.

Venla Lehtonen, who had spent a month without a break, still needed to improve her own performance.

—Yes, this warms the heart, when after yesterday the atmosphere was not so happy. It was really great to be able to ride with them when they are in good condition and the thing works. I personally got a relatively intact performance, and the shootings went successfully with only one spare cartridge, but it lasted quite a long time. You could easily have taken a few more seconds off that, Lehtonen rooti.

France challenged Norway

In the double relay, the two-person teams took turns around a 1.5 kilometer run. The victory was finally won by Norway with the team of Karoline Erdal and Martin Nevland.

Remi Boutier and Paula Botet of France skied just over five seconds behind Norway.

Daniele Cappellari and Sara Scattolo brought Italy to the finish line in third place.

Finland's Heidi Kuuttinen and Jimi Klemettinen placed 16th.