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Simone joins the Nordic party

Open Nordic Championships - prediction

While the central and eastern europeans are dominating the mens races, it is still a Nordic tale among the women. But, Simone Niggli is back, and a Czech girl has a WOC-gold to defend…

Still it looks like we are heading towards a game of three queens in Salo.

Favorites
Anne Margrethe Hausken, Norway
Dominant last year while Simone was away. Only one WOC-gold though. Sprint still her best chance. More injury problems this winter, but won easily at the Norwegian test races, ahead of Marianne Andersen and Niggli. Medal contender on all races, but can she go clean on the detailed finnish slopes?

Anne Margrethe Hausken.

Minna Kauppi, Finland
First chance for Kauppi to test her competitors on her own soil. Fought hard with Hausken last year and lost most fights. But is a runners who masters her own back yard, even though she has been plagued with injuries this winter. The clear captain of the finnish team with Heli Jukkola out. Won both Huippuliiga races so far and newly crowned finnish champion in sprint. Will end up with the biggest crown after next week.

Minna Kauppi.

Simone Niggli, Switzerland
The best female orienteer ever makes an exciting comeback after giving birth to young Malin last year. Now she looks motivated and has been gearing up on training camps and races in Norway and Finland the last weeks. After a injury in spring she should still have some steps left to her best shape. But that might still not be so easy to beat…

Simone Niggli

Dana Brozkova, Czech Republic
Took a very popular gold medal on home soil in July. Has improved a lot in Nordic terrain the last years, and the terrain in Salo is very runnable. An exciting start, but should struggle to take a medal.

Dana Brozkova.

Helena Jansson, Sweden
The Swedish girls were very even last year, and had many runners in the top ten all the time. Still Jansson is surely the captain and is a strong contender for a medal, especially on middle and sprint. Seems to improve every year, and knows how to make a relay exciting too…

Helena Jansson.

Marianne Andersen, Norway
Been the second choice in the Norwegian team the last year when Hausken has been dominating. That does not mean Andersen has lost her form, and this year she should be able to strike back after some injury problems in 2008. A medal contender- but the golds will go to the queens…

Marianne Andersen.

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Outsiders
Signe Søes, Denmark
Great progress last year- the podium awaits her now…

Annika Billstam, Sweden
Medalist in WOC 2008. Normally between place 5 and 10…

Kajsa Nilsson; Sweden
If she can stay away from the injuries she can be a queen too…

Lena Eliasson, Sweden
Back after illness last year. Sprint her best chance.

Vroni König-Salmi, Switzerland
Won silver on the middle last year in WOC. When she’s in the team - don’t write her off…

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Results - tip
Long

1. Kauppi
2. Niggli
3. Andersen
4. Hausken
5. Billstam
6. Søes

Middle
1. Kauppi
2. Nilsson
3. Niggli
4. Jansson
5. Andersen
6. Rantanen

Sprint
1. Hausken
2. Niggli
3. Jansson
4. Kauppi
5. Eliasson
6. Egseth

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Orienteering.is will be back with further expert comments - men and relay - from Jørn Sundby.

Open Nordic Championships - 6.-10. June - Finland, Salo.

All pictures taken by Geir Nilsen / OPN.no.