Estonians manage one top 10 finish at FIS World Cup Otepää ({{commentsTotal}})

The duo of Raido Ränkel and Peeter Kümmel were the only brightish spot in a dismal national outing at the FIS Cross Country World Cup events at Otepää.

Ränkel and Kümmel made it into the final of the free sprint relay on Sunday, where they did however finish last, more than 38 seconds behind the winner, a Russian team.

"I think we can be satisfied. The last time Estonia was in the team sprint final was six or seven years ago," said Ränkel on ETV, calling it a "positive surprise."

The pair of Karel Tammjärv and Alvar Johannes Alev missed getting into the final of the men's sprint relay by 1.5 seconds.

Low expectations were the theme of the Estonians' weekend at Otepää, where athletes from 15 countries competed in four sprint events at Tehvandi stadium.

On Saturday, none of the Estonian skiers made it out of the qualification rounds. In the 1.5 men's sprint classic, seven of the last nine skiers were Estonian, including the 20-year-old son of former gold medalist Andrus Veerpalu.

In the women's 1.2 sprint classic, five of the last six women were Estonian. Heidi Raju had the best time but finished 42nd of 51 skiers.

Saturday's comment of the day was surely from eventual men's team relay finalist Ränkel, who was 50th in the individual qualifier. "I don't even know why, but the rest of the world is faster than us."

In Sunday's women's free team sprint, the Estonian pair of Piret Pormeister and Raju finished 17th overall - again, last.

Editor: K. Rikken



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