Ragnhild Haga of Norway celebrates gold medal in U23 Ladies 7.5 km Classic + 7.5 km Free Skiathlon. She out sprinted on the home stretch Deborah Agreiter (ITA) and compatriot Kari Oeyre Slind.
Ragnhild Haga from Norway has won her second gold medal at the Nordic Junior & U23 World Ski Championships in Liberec. The 21-year-old cross-country skier sped past the leading Debora Agreiter from Italy in the finish of the 7.5 + 7.5 km skiathlon and left her with the silver. The Norwegians had another reason for rejoicing in Kari Oeyre Slind’s bronze medal.
48 competitors set off on the white courses in the cruel frost. First, they completed three 2.5 km laps in the classic style and then the same in free technique. The Russian Elena Soboleva was the fastest in the classic-style, but lost time in the second half and ended up sixth. The bronze medal winner Slind was the best in the free technique part of the competition.
"It was really hard. I had to fight a lot on the classical part. I am really happy I could catch up with Deborah in the free technique. After the ski exchange I did not know if I could make it. I felt quite good in both classic and skating but free technique part was better for me. I am now going to Norway for the national championships, it is 4 race in 5 day,“ Ragnhild Haga commented on her victory and other plans.
Their countrywoman, Haga, the junior champion of 2011, showed the most balanced performance as well as the quickest change of equipment, and deserved her second gold medal. On Wednesday, the Norwegian skier dominated in the 10km free technique. The silver medal was won by the Italian Agreiter, who ended up third in the 10km, and in today’s competition remained in the lead all the way to the end.
Debora Agreiter: „I am little bit disappointed I did not win the gold medal. Today believed I could make it but I think I have done a very good job. I knew that Norwegians girls were very good. Looking back now I should have skied technically better but I gave everything. I have learned many things today. I had to risk I did not have a choice. I got the information from the coaches that the Norwegians were coming. I am going now to train in high altitude to get ready for the World Championships in Val di Fiemme.“
Kari Oeyre Slind: „I am really happy for the bronze medal. It is good to have a such performance. I felt good in classical part. After the ski exchange I broke my pole. In the skating part I tried to follow Ragnhild and go for the medal. I always ski with my sleeves up, no matter how cold it is.“