2015 World Junior Championship – Final Race Report

2015 World Junior / U23 Championship, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Competition Days 3 & 4 – U23 10/15km Freestyle & Junior Skiathlons

Two more days of racing in Almaty down and now the Australian Team’s campaign is over. Yesterday Nick Montgomery and Mark Pollock finished 53rd and 56th in the U23 15km Freestyle, 17.5% and 29.9% behind the winner Florian Notz from Germany. Today Kat Paul was 55th in the Junior 10km Skiathlon, 24.9% behind Sofie Nordsveen Hustad from Norway. In the events uncontested by Australians Barbro Kvaale from Norway won the women’s U23 10km Freestyle, and Russia took out the trifecta in the Junior men’s 20km Skiathlon.


Kat Paul at around the 7km mark in the Skiathlon

In the 15km Nick felt he skied technically well though lacked a bit of power in the legs; overall he was happy with the race. However, Mark felt he had “nothing in the tank” right from the start and battled the whole way around. Sick during part of the preparation period, Mark had been hoping that race form would materialise but it was not to be.

Kat made a good start in the Skiathlon, then as the field spread out she got into a good tussle with some Belorussians and Romanians. Charging up the hill towards the stadium at the end of the 5km Classic Kat overtook a couple of skiers then made a good ski exchange to head out on the 5km Freestyle in 54th place out of the field of 60 starters. On the skate leg the fatigue of three races in four days started to set in, and though she overtook one Swiss skier two other skiers went past her and she ended up in 55th.

With the U23 men’s 30km Skiathlon tomorrow held on a 2.5km loop and a very high likelihood of being lapped out of the race, both boys have opted not to start. Instead they will train in preparation for other events in the coming weeks – including for Mark the World Championship in Falun. The team will ski tomorrow at the Ak Bulak ski area further up in the mountains which will potentially be the 2022 Olympic venue if Almaty is successful in their Winter Olympic bid.

So that’s it on the team reports from Almaty; further colour may appear soon on individual athlete blogs. A final sum-up from team coach Allison McArdle: “On the whole the Kazakhstan racing experience has been very positive. The organisers did a great job of getting the courses into reasonable shape, volunteers have been friendly and helpful, sharing the wax cabin with the British Team was highly entertaining, our athletes gave it their best on the day in every race and we had some good results.”

The next big event for the Australian Team this winter: 2015 World Championships, Falun, Sweden.


Cherio from Almaty!



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