Mariya Guschina claimed victory in the 10 km classic race at the U23 World Championships. The Russian pushed hard in the second part of the race and took gold medal 26,7 seconds ahead of her team mate Polina Medvedeva. The podium completed Martine Ek Hagen from Norway.
Guschina skied to dominating victory but the Russian skier started carefully and found herself in 9th place, +16.3 off the pace at 2.0 km checkpoint. By the 5.0 km marker Guschina moved up to third place and with the fastest second 5 km lap she powered to another gold medal for Russia.
It was a tight fight between Guschina and her compatriot Polina Medveda. Medvedeva was in the lead at the halfway point. Medvedeva could not keep the pace high and in the second part of the competition she started to fall behind Guschina. She crossed the finish line with a margin of +26.7 sec and claimed silver medal.
Norway's Martine Ek Hagen was one of the medal candidates in today's competition and she dominated the early stages of the race. After 5 kilometers the young Norwegian was losing 5 seconds on the current leader Polina Medvedeva. However, Ek Hagen made an error going in the second lap and lost a few seconds to return on the right track. Hagen defended the bronze medal against attacking Emma Wiken of Sweden, who lost the medal by tiny margin of +0.4 sec.
Mariya Guschina (RUS)
I do not know what is the secret I won today. The second part of the competition was very difficult. I am good at distance races and I like classical technique. This was my most favorite race today. My tactics was to be building up the pace. I was pushing very hard in the second lap. I wanted to go as fast as possible in the last 5 km of the competition. When I heard I could win, I got extra motivated and I was working even harder. Before the World Championships we were training in the high altitude in Bulgaria at 2.000 m. I'm quite well prepared for the high altitude in Erzurum, nevertheless it is difficult to compete here. There is a great team spirit in our squad. Everybody is working very hard. Coaches, service as well as athletes are trying their best. That is why Russians skiers have collected so many medals here.
Polina Medvedeva (RUS)
I am very happy about silver medal. I am not disappointed I missed the gold medal. This is my first medal at the Junior/U23 World Ski Championships. I expected to by fighting with Mariya (Guschina) for the podium. It was a tough fight with her from the beginning of the competition. It feels great to be on the podium with her. We share our big day together. The 5 km lap is very hard here in Erzurum but the track was prepared in the perfect way
Martine Ek Hagen (NOR)
I am very happy about the bronze medal. I was very tired at the end of the race. It could have been fourth place but also silver medal. I did not know about Emma Wiken's strong performance. I knew about two Russian girls. When I crossed the finish line I was very relieved I claimed the bronze medal. It was very tight between me and Emma. I went wrong in the second lap. If I had lost the medal because of that mistake I would have been very disappointed. I never competed in such high altitude. It has been tough but quite OK for me.
You can find complete results at: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=30432&cal_suchsector=CC