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Spain, Japan and UK lead the 2024 Youth World Champs ranking. The younger they are the faster they go

Rina Ogake from Japan shared five medals with her twin and rival, Yuna – the youngest skyrunners – ever. ©Milos Milenkovic

The eighth Youth Skyrunning World Championships closed today with Spain, Japan and the UK topping the country ranking in the final of the weekend’s events in Bar, Montenegro on June 30, 2024, where the SKY discipline was disputed after Friday’s VERTICAL.

More than 200 athletes from five continents and 28 countries competed for the 75 medals at stake as well as individual, combined and team titles. Eleven countries took medals, of which Spain, Japan, United Kingdom, Norway, and Germany lead the count.

With the young athletes split into four categories according to age, a lot of new talent is springing up, especially from the very youngest with 14-year-old Japanese twins emerging as the stars of the show taking literally a handful of medals in their first international competition. “The climb was harder than I expected so I tried to get ahead. We are rivals, but happy to share some smiles together,” commented Yuna Ogake who took the gold medal today ahead of her sister Rina, silver. “Montenegro was a wonderful surprise with a beautiful summit above the sea.” The twins, who compete in track and field, commented, “We like the skyrunning environment, the terrain, the rocks, and the downhill – very fast. Which will we choose? Skyrunning!” concluded Rina.

Lukas Ehrle from Germany had a tough start, two tough races and a stack of medals. ©Milos Milenkovic

Germany’s Lukas Ehrle encountered travel delays and arrived the night before the Friday’s VERTICAL without luggage. He immediately got to grips with the challenge and came out triumphant in his category, clinching three gold medals in the VERTICAL, SKY and COMBINED. “The race was crazy. I gave it my all, but I didn’t expect it to be so tough!

Spain’s Lluis Puigvert, a strong past medallist, had to settle for silver, hist second after Friday’s VERTICAL.  “I’m very happy about my result. I did my best on Friday and today but couldn’t catch Lukas Ehrle. He was just flying! He looked like another category, so this silver is almost worth a gold!”

Fresh talent is emerging right on the Championship stage where young athletes new to the sport are finding they’re cut out for it. Klara Velepec from Slovenia looks like another excellent example. “I can’t believe I won three medals this weekend as this is my first time skyrunning! I’m used to mountain running and skimo, but apparently, I can do well here too!”

France took a gold and a bronze thanks to Edgar Dumas,and Ludovic Fernandez. Spaniard Gontzal Murgoitio took the silver for the U23. ©Milos Milenkovic

Edgar Dumas from France also took a gold medal at his first attempt at the discipline. “This is the first time I ever did skyrunning. It looks like it fits me, so I’ll have to give it a serious try!”

Britain’s Eve Pannone, another first-timer, stated, “I do fell running and thought everyone was exaggerating about the technicality, but when I got on the ridge, I saw it was all true. You need to be very concentrated, but this is the most beautiful course I’ve ever run. I have my eyes on future skyrunning races!” With a gold medal in her pocket, her skyrunning future looks bright.

Britain’s Eve Pannone racing towards her gold medal and a third position for her country in the overall ranking. ©Milos Milenkovic

The new location for the 2024 Youth Skyrunning World Championships in Bar, Montenegro, provided extremely technical terrain with rocky ridges to an altitude of 1,594m offering spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea and a lake below. However, hot temperatures added to the tough challenge these young runners faced.

Organiser of the events, Marko Nikolic, Serbia and Montenegro Skyrunning Association, commented, “It’s a privilege to have so many countries from five continents participate here in Montenegro, which also played host to the 2023 European Skyrunning Championships. It’s never easy to organise such technical courses, but the safety of the athletes is a priority and we got a lot of praise for the beauty of the surroundings. I’d like to thank the municipality of Bar for hosting the venue and look forward to collaborating again in the future!”

The 2024 Youth Skyrunning World Championships courses:
June 28 – VERTICAL – 5 km long with 1,000m vertical climb
June 30 – SKY 21 km long with 1,600m vertical climb
June 30 – SKY YOUTH A & B – 12 km long with 800m vertical climb

Spain, Japan and UK head the country rankings celebrating the 2024 Youth Skyrunning World Championships. ©Milos Milenkovic

The events were organised in cooperation with the Serbia and Montenegro Skyrunning Association and were supervised by ISF Referees. WADA anti-doping tests were carried out.

Today’s youth – tomorrow’s champions.

SKY results
Youth A men
Gold – Andreas Lilleskare (NOR) 1h01’39”
Silver – Gerard Lopez (ESP) 1h03’10”
Bronze – Joan Guiteras (ESP) 1h04’22”

Youth A women
Gold – Yuna Ogake (JPN) 1h13’30”
Silver – Rina Ogake (JPN) 1h13’44”
Bronze – Nuria Calzada (ESP) 1h16’19”

Youth B men
Gold – Biel Sagues (ESP) 59’10”
Silver – Isak Drøpping (NOR) 1h02’28”
Bronze – Bertold Kalasz (HUN) 1h02’55”

Youth B women
Gold – Ingeborg Syntnes (NOR) 1h08’50”
Silver – Klara Velepec (SLO) 1h11’20”
Bronze – Uma Plans (ESP) 1h12’48”

Youth C men
Gold – Lukas Ehrle (GER) 2h12’36”
Silver – Lluis Puigvert (ESP) 2h19’17”
Bronze – Peter Bettoli (ITA) 2h20’34”

Youth C women
Gold – Dalia Alonso (ESP) 2h52’44”
Silver – Alexandra Whitaker (GBR) 2h53’10”
Bronze – Meija Peterson (SWE) 2h57’26”

U23 men
Gold – Edgar Dumas (FRA) 2h13’28”
Silver – Gontzal Murgoitio (ESP) 2h14’46”
Bronze – Ludovic Fernandez (FRA) 2h17’35”

U23 women
Gold – Eve Pannone (GBR) 2h43’53”
Silver – Laia Montoya (ESP) 2h46’44”
Bronze – Patrycja Stanek (POL) 2h47’09”

COMBINED results
Youth A men
Gold – Andreas Lilleskare (NOR)
Silver – Gerard Lopez (ESP)
Bronze – Joan Guiteras (ESP)

Youth A women
Gold – Yuna Ogake (JPN)
Silver – Nuria Calzada (ESP)
Bronze – Rina Ogake (JPN)

Youth B men
Gold – Biel Sagues (ESP)
Silver – Isak Drøpping (NOR)
Bronze – Alexander Glod (POL)

Youth B women
Gold – Ingeborg Syntnes (NOR)
Silver – Klara Velepec (SLO)
Bronze – Uma Plans (ESP)

Youth C men
Gold – Lukas Ehrle
Silver – Lluis Puigvert
Bronze – Peter Bettoli

Youth C women
Gold – Alexandra Whitaker (GBR)
Silver – Dalia Alonso (ESP)
Bronze – Karen Kobayashi (JPN)

U23 men
Gold – Ryunosuke Omi (JPN)
Silver – Edgar Dumas (FRA)
Bronze – Gontzal Murgoitio (ESP)

U23 women
Gold – Eve Pannone (GBR) 2h43’53”
Silver – Laia Montoya (ESP) 2h46’44”
Bronze – Patrycja Stanek (POL) 2h47’09”

Medal count 
Race results 
Race website 
Full info