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Published 20 March 2005

World Championshiop kicksled 2005 (Multia)

Saturday's races in Multia Ice Kicksledding World Championships were held near to perfect conditions. The organisers gave already during the week a hint that this could be another record year. The spectators didn't have to go home disappointed.

The first record proved that Erwin Borremans is without doubt the world's fastest kicksledder. The Belgian beat both the person and record of Hannu Vierikko in the 200 m final by 0.1 seconds. The new record reads now 22.8. Antti Lehtinen finished third half a second behind the old and new record holders.

In the 2000 m race Erwin was a bit too enthusiastic in the curves and lost too many precious seconds in order to keep up with Alpo Kuusisto and Hannu Vierikko, who determined their order in the traditional way. Alpo held the lead for most of the time, but with a half a lap to go Hannu commenced his famous attack and Alpo could not quite keep up on the home stretch. Despite his wobbly sidesteps Erwin could snatch the third place before Jan Elmgren.

The ice track was indeed so well polished that all competitors could not quite keep their balance at top speed. Many a kicker in the age group classes and relays found themselves skidding towards the outer perimeter in various uncontrolled positions. Fortunately there were no major collisions and thus the winning prizes were handed out to the best kicksledders. Maarit Salovirta dominated the ladies' sprint races on Saturday. She was several kicks ahead of her opponents on both distances. On 2000 m she succeeded to make the other world record of the memorable kicksledding day. Her record attempt was planned and implemented like a clockwork. The finish time 4.59.1 was 0.4 seconds faster than the previous record held by Anu Heikkilä since 1996. Liis Toomingas took the second place just ahead of the rest of the pack that was outkicked by Maarit by more than a half a minute.

On the Sunday's marathon the wind was a major obstacle against keeping a record pace. Swift snow flurries on the ploughed 6.2 km route indicated that it would be speedy kicking one way but toiling against the cold northernly current on the way back. In the beginning, though, the participants kicked ten short laps on the kicksled stadium to entertain the cheering crowd.

Alpo Kuusisto decided early that it's time to say goodbye to the others. Jan Elmgren and Hannu Vierikko struggled for the second place, and as so many times before, Hannu was a bit stronger in the end. Richard Van Camp took the fourth place after participating in an eight-hour adventure race on the previous day.

The ladies' championship was taken by Liis Toomingas, who started out at a pace that the others didn't dare to follow. Jaana Nykänen could keep almost the same pace in the latter part finishing much closer to Liis than the year before. The third prize was handed to Nina Koponen, who kicked by mistake a half-kilometer lap extra in the beginning.

The organisers had once again done a magnificent job to make the weekend a memorable experience for everybody. The world championships are no more a solely domestic affair, although Erwin Borremans, Richard Van Camp and Liis Toomingas all are currently Finnish residents. Perhaps that's still one prerequisite to reach the absolute elite level in our sport. Very special thanks to our Czech visitors who came to the chilly kicksled country although back home spring had already arrived.

Esa Mononen

World Championshiop 2005 kicksled results
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