General News Perniö, Finland

Danish men, Swedish women take Nordic Cross Country team titles

Morten Munkholm and Andreas Bueno lead a Danish 1-2-3 finish at the Nordic Cross Country Championships (Hasse Sjögren)Morten Munkholm and Andreas Bueno lead a Danish 1-2-3 finish at the Nordic Cross Country Championships (Hasse Sjögren) © Copyright
  Denmark took a clean sweep in the Men's 9km at the Nordic Cross Country Championships in the southwestern city of Perniö, Finland on Saturday (7).

It was a close race between the 12 men in the leading group, with the Danish trio breaking away for the gold, as Sweden's Joel Boden and Johan Wallerstam could not maintain contact in the last few hundred metres of the race.

Morten Munkholm took the win in 26:18, only one second ahead of Andreas Bueno, and the gap was the same to the bronze medallist Henrik Them. The best Finn was Matti Räsänen in sixth place.

Denmark handily won the team competition ahead of Sweden and Finland.

A surprise was seen in the Women's 7.5km race, which was won by Sweden's Ulrika Johansson. Only European junior champion Karoline Bjerkeli Grövdal of Norway challenged Johansson, who set the pace from the start.

With one kilometre to go Johansson made her break and left the big favourite Grövdahl behind by six seconds clocking 26:23. Denmark's Maria Sig Möller was the bronze medallist.

Johansson also lead the Swedes to the team title by a margin of three points ahead of Norway, with Denmark third. It would have been very interesting to see Finland's Sandra Eriksson on the course, but unfortunately she was ill and unable to run.

Norway's duo Sondre Norstad Moen and Henrik Ingebrigtsen dominated the men’s junior 6km contest. The Norwegians ran away from the main group already in the first lap, and left Sweden's Anton Danielsson in third, a distant 1:30 behind the winner.

Some 1.5 km before the finish Moen made his move and came home 40 seconds ahead of his team mate. Norway won the team gold, Sweden took the silver and Denmark the bronze.

In the Women Junior's race, Finland had a strong success, as only 15-year-old Saara Nikander took the early pace and maintained it easily. Controlling the contest, Nikander didn't allow any of her rivals to lead the race at all.

Johanna Peiponen started the home straight in third, but passed Norway's Silje Baera Hörte and finished just one second behind Nikander. Peiponen secured the team competition gold medal for Finland, as well. Sweden placed second and Norway third.

Conditions were difficult in Perniö, because of a quite heavy snow fall on Friday. A total of 1000 kg of salt was spread on the course, and thanks to that, it was not very slippery.

The snows subsided on Saturday but the temperature was only 2-3 degrees Celsius.

Antti-Pekka Sonninen for the IAAF