Oslo 2011: Update #3 – Sprint

Today was the first medal event at the 2011 World Championship. Esther Bottomley finished 44th in the Freestyle Sprint,  arguably Australia’s best ever result by a female cross country skier at a World Championship. The Australian men had mixed results with Ben Sim, Mark van der Ploeg, Nick Grimmer and Chris Darlington finishing 63rd, 70th, 71st and 93rd out of the field of 122 starters.

Esther Bottomley - Sprint

Esther started the 1.3km sprint with bib #6 and crossed the line in 1st place. Fifteen skiers started ahead of the seeded group because of light snow forecast, however it was very light and didn’t seem to effect the track. Esther thought she paced it well and was happy with the way she skied. She ended up 18 seconds behind the fastest qualifier and eventual winner of the finals Marit Bjoergen of Norway, and just over 6 seconds out of the top 30. Esther’s 44th place was the highest by an Australian woman since Colleen Bolton’s 41st place at the 1982 World Championship (also held in Oslo), and against a much larger field.

Ben Sim went out fast and half way around the 1.5km course at the top of the biggest hill was level with the race winner Markus Hellner from Sweden and just 6 seconds off the pace. However when he hit the last hill he ran out of juice and dropped to be just over 18 seconds behind the fastest qualifier Jesper Modin of Sweden. Despite dying at the end Simbo was happy with his early speed and his end result. Mark VDP was four seconds after Simbo, not feeling as good as he did last weekend but satisfied to be 0.1 seconds ahead of his main rival and team-mate Nick Grimmer. Incidentally Mark raced on Simbo’s second pair of skis and Grimmer raced on Esther’s second pair of skis. Chris Darlington was a bit off the pace, 34 seconds back.

Now there is a day off from racing before Esther Bottomley contest the 15km Pursuit on Saturday.

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One Response

  1. Great result Esther!
    Peter and Benita

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