A ski orienteering world championships event held in Kääriku, Estonia, on Wednesday concluded with Estonian Daisy Kudre coming out on top in the women's sprint. The Estonian also added a silver medal in Thursday's pursuit event.
At the 2.8 km split of the 3.3 km race, Kudre was in tight competition for second or third, situated tightly on the trail of Swedish athlete Anna Magdalena Olsson. The Estonian was able to close the gap by the end however and eventually took a 17-second win (15.22) over the aforementioned Olsson, followed by Norwegian Anna Ulvensöen (+0.22).
Wednesday's victory marks the first individual world championships medal for the 27-year old Estonian. In 2017, she took bronze in a relay competition.
The remaining Estonian women in the orienteering contest finished as follows: Doris Kudre 15th (+2.02), Evely Kaasiku 21st (+2.46), Epp Paalberg 25th (+3.12) and Kaisa Rooba 37th (+7.02).
The men's competition in Kääriku was taken by Vladislav Kiselev, competing on neutral grounds. Second and third places were taken by Norwegian athletes Audun Heimdal (+0.17) and Jörgen Baklid (+0.18).
The best Estonian man was Mattis Jaama, coming in 17th (+2.07). Kevin Hallop was 24th (+2.38), Kaarel Vesilind was 27th (+2.59), Rimmo Rõõm was 38th (+3.57), Andres Rõõm came in 39th (+4.01) and Tõnis Laugesaar was 53rd (+7.26).
Kudre takes silver in Thursday's pursuit
After taking her first career individual medal on Wednesday, Kudre followed it up with a silver medal in the 11 km pursuit race, finishing second (+19 seconds) after Swedish athlete Lisa Larsen (1:05.44). Larsen's national team-mate Evelina Wickbom finished third, three seconds behind Kudre.
Kudre and Larsen were neck-to-neck in the final two splits, but a better choice in route gave the Swede the edge and the first-ever pursuit world championship went to Larsen.
"I saw Larsen in front of me, but could not catch up to her. I made a few bad route choices, went on tighter and softer routes, lost some time," Kudre said shortly after finishing, still very happy over finishing second.
The 27-year old gave Estonians two more things to be happy about during the week of independence celebrations. The two medals came from two completely different disciplines. Wednesday's gold came from a 15-minute sprint event, while Thursday's pursuit race lasted for more than an hour.
Good route choices in the first third of the 11-km event gave Kudre a minute gap, but some following mistakes led to the Estonian being third for the map change at the two-third point of the race. "I compared the choices. And I did not actually see the best one on the map, because we had limited time. You have to make the choice fast and I did not see the go-around," Kudre admitted in an interview to ERR.
"I chose the best option, rode and rode and then understood it went a bit wrong. A bad choice. But I told myself in the woods that it is a difficult route. Don't give up! Keep going!" she said.
The two medals were a pleasant surprise as the Estonian went into the event with a hope of reaching the podium once. "I dreamed of a medal and though if I could win one, these world championships would be a success. Winning two medals, especially a gold, it is super. I am certainly pleased and happy," Kudre noted.
The athlete noted that she was also able to defeat pre-race nerves as well. "I am usually very nervous and excited before competition. But here, coming to Estonia for the world championships, I felt different, there was also some of this hard pressure," Kudre said.
"I have reached the best form of my life and these competitions are in Estonia and that is super. The mental preparation as well. I have thought about this a lot, how to handle this pressure and everything else. That I was able to handle it, is more than super," the two-time medalist added.
Editor's note:This article was updated with Thursday's results and Kudre's comments.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste