Sport stars galore at Lahti Ski Games – sprint team selections to be settled in Lahti
Lahti Ski Games, 8–10 February, will host many of the world’s biggest stars in cross-country skiing, ski jumping and nordic combined. 251 athletes from 20 countries have signed up for the competition. The weekend will finalise the Finnish skiing, ski jumping and nordic combined World Championship team.
The 60 athletes signed up for ski jumping include, among others, this season’s Japanese star Ryoyu Kobayashi, and the 53 athletes competing in nordic combined include the Norwegian star Jarl Magnus Riiber. 138 athletes have signed up for cross-country skiing, among them Norway’s Johannes Hösflot Kläbo and Finnish Olympic winner Iivo Niskanen and sprint ace Ristomatti Hakola. Niskanen and Hakola will test their shape in the team sprint.
In cross-country, the sprint is the last tryout for Finnish skiers before the team selection for the world championships in Seefeld, and also the national team gets to show their skills. In the team sprint, on the other hand, teams have a chance to try out different constellations.
– In terms of the world championships, Lahti Ski Games are at the best possible time for us. It’s a brilliant chance for a final tryout at home. It’s also great that we get a national team at Lahti Ski Games, so that more athletes can show what they can do at an international level. There is fierce competition for the last spots on the team. In the women’s team sprint, we get to try out new skiers, in the men’s team sprint our aim is to win, Mikko Virtanen, the Finnish national team’s sprint coach says.
Lahti Ski Games are also an important weekend for Norwegian skiers, who are fighting for places in the world championships at Seefeld.
“For Norwegian Sprinters the Lahti Ski Games is one of the most important weekends of the season, because it determines who will race for Norway in the World Championship’s sprint competitions. At the Team Sprint on Sunday we’ll test different constellations for the upcoming relay in Seefeld. After the race we will be able to pick two women and two men for the sprint relay. We are really looking forward to the Lahti Ski Games which we relate to traditions and a great atmosphere!” says Norwegian Ski Federation’s National Team’s Sports Director Cross Country Vidar Løfshus.
In Lahti, everything is ready for the competition already. The ski maintenance area, which has been moved to a new place, was fully tested last week at the Junior World Championships with positive results.
The teams gave a lot of positive feedback on the maintenance area, and the athletes also praised the atmosphere at the competition. I hope we will have similar experiences now that we can continue with winter sports in Lahti with Lahti Ski Games, Secretary General Aino-Kaisa Saarinen says.
The media is yet again interested in Lahti Ski Games: there is a total of 340 accredited TV and other media representatives.
Lahti Ski Games are being held in Lahti for the 94th time this winter. The first competition in the same surroundings was held already in 1923. The President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö is the official patron of the Lahti Ski Games.