Secret behind KooVee’s victory – Team spirit and solid performance

The first leg runner Joni Hirvikallio told he had made mistakes in the beginning of the leg but decided not to get nervous. Instead he continued well focused until the end.

– The end of the leg was easier. Earlier winning Jukola Relay has only been a dream but now the goal was victory. We felt we were ready for it, says cheerful Hirvikallio. – We have a good team spirit and we have hell of a lot of fun together. I always enjoy the time we spend together. This team has grown stronger and stronger each year. It is nice to spent time in this group.

In the second leg Topi Anjala got to chase Jani Lakanen who left the changeover 21 seconds earlier.

– It was good to see Jani in front of me because I know he usually doesn’t make any mistakes, comments Anjala. This was Anjala’s second time winning Jukola Relay, the previous one was in Lappee-Jukola 2 years ago.

– In my opinion, you cannot compare this win to the previous one. Winning is always great! We had a relaxed atmosphere within the team the whole week. We trust each other and that each one of us does their very best for the team, continues Anjala.

KooVee begins their work for Jukola usually already in fall training in the upcoming terrains.

– In springtime we have few camps together and in the week of Jukola we get together and talk about what are the most important things to remember, told Topi Anjala.

Competition for a place in the number one team is so tough that Anjala could not be certain of his place in the team until after Tiomila.

– As a team we were strong even though we made small mistakes. The mistakes weren’t big enough to hinder winning the race, concludes Anjala.

Lauri Sild, who ran the third leg, said he too made quite a few small mistakes in the beginning of the leg. – I don’t believe this terrain was easy for anybody. In my opinion we were well prepared for this terrain, says Sild.

Fourth leg runner Oleksandr Kratov has suffered from knee injury and decided to race only on Saturday morning. – It was very close that I would have said I’m not running but thankfully I decided to try how the leg feels. My concentration was on a high level and that’s why the injury didn’t slow me down. On technical side my performance wasn’t too good but physically I managed well today, tells Kratov.

According to Kenny Kivikas he didn’t see Jens Wängdahl even once during the whole course even though the difference between them was only about twenty seconds. -I tried to concentrate on my own orienteering. At times I heard steps but didn’t look behind and didn’t see him at any point, Kivikas said.

Timo Sild, sixth leg runner of the team, told that he recalled the events of Tiomila in the spring. – I knew Kenny, who ran before me, did a good performance and I decided that now it’s time for us to show what we can do. I knew I’m in good condition and as long as I perform well, it’s enough.

For anchor Daniel Hubmann the win was already his fourth. – It feels great to win again. We prepared for this together and now we can celebrate the job well done together. We are individual athletes but in Jukola we are a team.

Text: Terhi Sillanpää-Reitti
Photo: Kimmo Hirvonen