Easter Prize turned into Riga Sprint and competition date turned from Easter to August 29, but despite the difficult Covid-conditions of the 2020 season, OK Mona and Ozons could arrange the annual sprint orienteering competitions in Riga. Uldis Upītis and Sandra Grosberga were the winners in Elite classes.
Terrain of Dzegužkalns and Iļģuciems was rather familiar to the orienteers who, as organisers or participants, were present in the World Master Orienteering Championships last summer when the sprint race took place exactly there. To make things interesting, organisers re-draw map according to the new sprint mapping standards and set up some artificial barriers, creating new route choice options.
In total, 380 participants took place in the second round of Latvian Sprint cup.
In the absence of Rūdolfs Zērnis, clear favourite was Uldis Upītis who attained hopes completely - running fast and avoiding mistakes was the key for winning with 39 second gap over second place.
Uldis Upītis: “It was a stable run without any problems which was the reason for success today. Maybe I made some small mistakes, but lost just a couple of seconds. The course was rather interesting, no chance to relax at any point.”
Racing for the remaining positions on the podium turned out to be more fierce and solution happened at the very end of the course - on the last route choice. Rihards Krūmiņš did not choose the perfect option, but combined with a strong finish it was good enough to pass Renārs Roze and place 2nd.
Rihards Krūmiņš: “I had no special preparation for this race. Also warm-up didn’t feel to great, so I was just prepared to do my own race. Apparently I showed stable speed and orienteering performance, final part could have been better, but I was quite tired already. Looks like my rivals also had their own troubles. Big hand to the organisers - regarding course setting terrain was used to the maximum, which is very important in elite classes.”
Previously unseen dominance can be observed in women elite class - Sandra Grosberga lately is so convincing that organisers can find personalised prizes for the winner already before the race begins. This time was no different and the winning margin was massive 59 seconds.
Sandra Grosberga: “Course setup was a bit surprising, as the beginning was rather simple, but closer to the end there were some legs where wrong routes could cost some seconds. I made some of the wrong choices, but it didn’t matter much as I had earned a safe time reserve with faster running. All international sprint races have been cancelled this year, so I am grateful for any chance to run on sprint map. Thanks to Ozons and Mona for a great event!”
In women' elite, more than in mens’, decisive were differences in running speed. Irita Puķīte, despite some mistakes during the course, showed good pace on the last long leg and secured second place ahead of Līga Valdmane.