Day five of Narvik 2020 dawned bright and cold, perfect racing conditions for the junior women. In a day that see-sawed the emotions, the Swedish women provided a tour of force to take gold and place three other athletes in the top 13.
Twenty-year old Sarah Rask who leads the Europa Cup giant slalom standings, powered down both runs. Naja Dvornik of Slovenia delivered the fastest seond run to move up to the silver medal position. Kaja Norbe of Norway repeated her bronze medal performance of a year ago in Val di Fassa, bringing her total number of World Junior medals for the Norwegian to three.
Justine Clement (Stoneham) led the Canadian squad in 17th place, followed by Cassidy Gray (Team Panorama) in 21st, Brianna MacDonald (Osler Bluff) in 34th, Sarah Bennett (Stoneham) in 39th and Ella Renzoni (Whistler) in 44th. Claire Timmermann (Banff Alpine) did not finish the 1st run.
With the men’s draw complete and the race track ready, came the news from the Chief Municipal Doctor in Narvik, Sverre Håkon Evju, who made the decision to cancel the remainder of the Alpine Junior World Championships.
From the media release posted to the Narvik 2020 web site:
“We have come to a situation where the number of corona cases has nearly doubled in the space of 24 hours and the virus has attained status as an international pandemic. Even though we have kept to all guidelines, and we are in an area where there is not a single confirmed case of a person infected by the virus, we have chosen to cancel,” informs Sverre Håkon Evju who is also the Doctor of the Championships.
There are over 300 athletes in the Championships from a total of 40 countries.
“We wish to point out that we are not doing this because we have cases of corona infection. We are doing this precisely because we have no cases of corona infection.”, he adds
Erik Plener, leader of the Organization of the Alpine Junior World Championships supports the decision. “It is a wise decision and it is better to be safer than sorry. It is better to cancel while the athletes still have the possibility of traveling home – rather than having 500 people in quarantine for 14 days”, he adds.
Teams are now making plans to depart from Narvik. The Organizing Committee expressed their thanks to the many coaches who had helped enormously with watering and slope preparation and the Team Captains, in turn, shared their thanks for the tremendous effort invested by the volunteers and staff. Community spirit – spirit of the north – was clearly evident and the pride of this beautiful northern community was shared with all.
Tussen takk Narvik!
Sooner than expected, the focus now shifts to the 2021 FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships which are scheduled for Bansko, Bulgaria next March.
Too bad – a lot of energy and racing dreams halted in mid-stride but a necessary precaution. Better to get these amazing young people and supporters home where they can deal with issues in an organised fashion. Happy trails!!!