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New faces steal the show at Youth World Champs VERTICAL with Spain, Japan and UK topping the bill

Fastest woman on the course, Eve Pannone from the UK, gold, Spain’s Laia Montoya silver, and fellow Brit, Betty Bergstrand, bronze. ©Milos Milenkovic

Past champions didn’t disappoint in today’s Youth Skyrunning World Championships opener, but new young talent stole the show in the VERTICAL – a classic 5 km with 1,000m vertical climb near Bar, Montenegro, June 28, 2024.

With temperatures rising, for the first time, athletes raced in their age categories – making for direct competition. The new formula didn’t disappoint.

Germany’s Lukas Ehrle, 19, was the fastest man on the course today, setting the record and taking the gold for the Youth C category in 42’43” followed by Spaniards Lluis Puigvert and Ïu Net, third and fourth overall.

Japan’s Ryunosuke Omi got the gold he was after. ©Milos Milenkovic

Fastest man in the U23 category was Japan’s Ryunosuke Omi. “I’m so proud of this gold medal!” he stated. “The Youth Championships were my main goal of the season and as it’s my last year I wanted to recover from my bad performance in 2023 and go back to the high level that got me two gold medals in 2022.” Omi fulfilled his dream with another gold medal.

Italy’s Alex Rigo and Klemen Španring from Slovenia took silver and bronze for the category respectively.

The gold medal in Youth B was no surprise with Spaniard Biel Sagues who took multiple medals in previous championships. He also demonstrated that moving up a category didn’t affect his results, closing an excellent 11th overall. Silver and bronze went North to Norway’s Isak Drøpping and Max Österberg from Sweden.

Spaniard Biel Sagués, an ardent medal collector from past championships, added a another gold today, finishing 11th overall. ©Milos Milenkovic

Youth A category stayed with the historically strongest countries: Italy and Spain. Italian Marco Magistro pocketed the gold, while Spaniards Joan Guiteras, took the silver, and Gerard Lopez, the bronze.

The women’s race saw some solid performances by the UK team and JapanBriton Eve Pannone was the fastest woman on the course conquering the U23 gold in 54’04” ahead of Spain’s Laia Montoya and fellow countrywoman Betty Bergstrand.

Youth C saw another British duo clinching gold and bronze: Alexandra Whitaker and Beth Rawlinson were separated by Japan’s Karen Kobayashi.

New entry Klara Velepec, 18, from Slovenia struck everyone with an incredible performance. Her 57’03” was the third fastest time in the women’s field, conquering the gold in Youth B ahead of a very strong Ingeborg Syntnes from Norway (seventh overall) and Riko Obata from Japan.

It’s a gold for Spain’s Nuria Calzada and silver and bronze medals to the youngest competitors, twins Rina and Yuna Ogake, still only fourteen years old. ©Milos Milenkovic

Youth A was decided in a sprint over the last 50 metres of the race, where Spain’s Nuria Calzada overtook Japan’s Rina Ogake and won by a mere seven seconds. Ogake was followed by her twin, Yuna. The sisters, aged just 14 (they will turn 15 in November) are the youngest in the championships, and brought home the well-deserved silver and bronze medals. New stars in the making?

It was tough, but also a lot of fun to run with other athletes of my age,” commented Rina. Yuna agreed. “It was very tough, especially the last kilometre. Luckily there were plenty of people cheering  me and all the other athletes and this helped to push me to the finish line!”

After a day of rest on Saturday, the eighth edition of the Youth Skyrunning World Championships will conclude on Sunday, June 30, with the SKY discipline featuring two distances – a shorter course of 12 km with 800m vertical climb for the younger runners while the older runners will tackle the full Rumija SkyRace®21 km with 1,600m vertical climb summiting at 1,580m above the Adriatic sea rewarding the runners with stunning views before their descent.

All the way from Brazil, Bruno Bulle.enjoying the tough course and the great views. ©Nemanja Jovanovic

A total of 75 medals are at stake across the three events as well as individual, combined and team titles with some 200 athletes from 28 countries across five continents competing, the atmosphere, as well as the competition, is hot.

Tune in to follow the live tracking here and check out today’s champions – tomorrow’s skyrunning stars.

VERTICAL results
Youth A men

Gold – Marco Magistro (ITA) 50’26”
Silver – Joan Guiteras (ESP) 50’54”
Bronze – Gerard Lopez (ESP) 50’59”

Youth A women
Gold – Nuria Calzada (ESP) 1h01’50”
Silver – Rina Ogake (JPN) 1h01’57”
Bronze – Yuna Ogake (JPN) 1h07’43”

Youth B men
Gold – Biel Sagués (ESP) 47’45”
Silver – Isak Drøpping (NOR) 49’25”
Bronze – Max Österberg (SWE) 50’34”

Youth B women
Gold – Klara Velepec (SLO) 57’03”
Silver – Ingeborg Syntnes (NOR) 58’42”
Bronze – Riko Obata (JPN) 1h00’47”

Youth C men
Gold – Lukas Ehrle (GER) 42’43”
Silver – Lluis Puigvert (ESP) 45’10”
Bronze – Ïu Net Puig (ESP) 45’40”

Youth C women
Gold – Alexandra Whitaker (GBR) 59’12”
Silver – Karen Kobayashi (JPN) 1h00’17”
Bronze – Beth Rawlinson (GBR) 1h02’27”

U23 men
Gold – Ryunosuke Omi (JPN) 44’08”
Silver – Alex Rigo (ITA) 46’09”
Bronze – Klemen Španring (SLO) 46’29”

U23 women
Gold – Eve Pannone (GBR) 54’04”
Silver – Laia Montoya (ESP) 55’45”
Bronze – Betty Bergstrand (GBR) 57’07”

Medal count
Race results
Race website
Full info