Home crowd inspires Estonian teams at European Orienteering Championships

The Estonian women's orienteering relay team
The Estonian women's orienteering relay team Source: ERR

On the final day of the European Orienteering Championships in Rakvere both the Estonia's men's and women's teams were in action as they competed in the relay event. The men's team finished in fifth position in the national rankings, taking seventh position in the relay overall. The Estonian women's team claimed ninth place overall in the relay, finishing as the sixth best national team in the competition.

Leading the Estonian men's team was the trio of Kristo Heinmann, Lauri Sild and Kenny Kivikas.

"It was a nice, easy start, because it was possible to orienteer with the others. Unfortunately, at one point a mistake was made and we suffered," said Heinmann, who ran the opening leg for Estonia. However, Heinmann was disappointed after failing to conduct a smooth handover to Lauri Sild for the second leg, which ultimately had a negative impact on the team's performance.

Sild made no mistakes on his handover, though admitted he could have pushed harder during the relay, but was feeling the effects of having competed in the short course stage on the previous day.

"I think I put in a good, steady second leg performance," said Sild. "I didn't take any risks, I went for a solid start. I could have pushed harder, but I didn't have more in my legs today. There was so much forest on the short course," Sild explained.

Kivikas said, that halfway through the course he realized things were going well, and that the fight for top spot was very much on.

"I was just trying to do my best and halfway through the course I could hear that everything was (going) pretty well and we were fighting for fourth to sixth place with the others, and in the end we came fifth," said Kivikas.

The Estonian men's orienteering relay team Source: ERR

The Estonian women's team included Marianne Haug, Eleri Hirv and Evely Kaasik. Haug, who ran the opening leg for Estonia, said the decision for her to compete was made following a long discussion amongst the team the night before.

"It has been a very difficult few days for me because I haven't been able to sleep at night. We had a very long discussion last night about the order of the teams and who would run. In the end it was decided that I would run, and after that, I set myself the goal of a technically steady performance," Haug said.

Eleri Hirv was generally satisfied with her performance in the relay. "I tried to give my best as always. Technically I put in a good performance, but as it is the fourth day of the race, I am quite tired. Overall, I was satisfied," said Hirv after the run.

Evely Kaasik added that the wild cheering from the home crowd helped the Estonian team a lot.

"Yesterday's run gave me a lot of confidence to run well today," Kaasik said. "I went into the woods feeling very confident and that's why I ended up doing well. I did make a big mistake at one point and I could see my competitors getting close. (However), when I saw that Denmark was there, I realized that (we were) probably (in) a fight for the high places. I didn't believe in the top 6 at that moment, but the wild cheering of the home crowd brought me to seventh and (then), in the end, I managed to get sixth," said Kaasik.

The 2022 IOF European orienteering Championships took place in the forests around Rakvere, Lääne-Viru County between Wednesday and Sunday last week.

163 men and 128 women, from 31 countries registered for the event, held on a course across the forested landscape of Põlula, just east of Rakvere, which is difficult to pass due to its thick vegetation and complex gradients.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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