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Wind in the sails for Spain and Norway at the Youth World Champs final

SKY Youth A winners, silver, Gabriela Lassalle, Spain, Ida Waldal, Norway takes the gold and Martina Gonfaus, Spain, bronze. ©Discover Abruzzo

The final day of the fifth Youth Skyrunning World Championships in the Italian Appenines featuring the SKY discipline and awarding the Combined titles was struck by 150 km hurricane speed winds. More than wind power, the athletes happily breezed to the finish line, pleased with the shortened course.

The original Gran Sasso SkyRace® was reduced to 16 km with 1,300m vertical climb – 7 km shorter and with just over 1,000m less vertical.

For those who took on Friday’s VERTICAL together with today’s SKY, it was good news. This was the case of Norwegian Kasper Fosser in the U23 category, who came second in the VERTICAL by just 13 seconds, today, he felt strong enough to chase the gold and the clinch the Combined title.

The U23 SKY medallists: Daniel Osanz from Spain, silver, Kasper Fosser, Norway, gold, and Jonas Soldini, Switzerland, bronze. ©Discover Abruzzo

I was just 13 seconds from the gold on Friday, so I wanted to come back and get that gold medal!” exclaimed Fosser. “I’m very happy that the course got reduced as it suited me better, with a lot of downhill. Although I was super tired on the downhill, I gave my all. I’ve never raced for more than 90 minutes, so I was happy when I heard the course was shorter!”

The silver went to Spain’s super-strong Daniel Osanz, winner of the VERTICAL and six previous years’ medals. He crossed the finish line ecstatic, celebrating as though he was the winner. Even though he had to settle for silver, he knew he did his best and added yet another medal to his collection totalling nine to date. The bronze went to Switzerland’s Jonas Soldini who ran an excellent solid race, always in third position.

After winning Friday’s VERTICAL, Barbora Macurova, from the Czech Republic, for just another four days still within the Youth U23 category, was not done yet and dominated the race, crossing the line with almost 9 minutes’ advantage over the second woman earning her another gold and the gold in the Combined, the sum of the two disciplines.

Barbora Macurova from the Czech Republic on her way to a gold in the U23 in today’s SKY discipline. ©Discover Abruzzo

The race was beautiful, but I fell and injured my knees, so it was a little hard to finish. I’m so happy to have won three gold medals and help my team, even if we didn’t make the podium as a country this time,” she commented.

For the silver and bronze, it was a sprint between Spaniard Anna Guirado and Italian Martina Bilora with Spain coming out on top.

The Youth B Men’s race was undoubtedly an Albert Perez solo, but the runner from Spain was chased by Italians Lorenzo Rota Martir and Marco Salvadori on his heels, second and third respectively. Perez also took the gold in Friday’s VERTICAL.

I’m very happy about my race. I didn’t have the best feelings on the uphill, so I pushed on the downhill to get some advantage over the Italians that were following,” stated Perez. “I finished together with the U23 category, so now I’m ready for next year’s change of category and…I won the World Championships!

Albert Perez takes home another gold for Spain in the Youth B category. ©Discover Abruzzo

Spain’s Moana Kehres, gold medallist in the VERTICAL, was in full control of the Youth B Women’s race and led from start to finish. Francesca Gianola from Italy and Spain’s Laia Gonfaus completed the podium crossing the line just 10 seconds apart.

In the Youth A category which now includes 15-year-olds, the VERTICAL podium was repeated, with Spaniards Iu Net Puig replicating the gold, Jan Castillo the silver, and Andorran Max Palmitjavila, the bronze.

Despite Friday’s gold, for Net Puig, he stated, “It was a tougher race than I expected. I started “slowly” with the Vertical to have enough energy for today. I suffered the long final downhill, but I won the gold medal, so it doesn’t matter!

Double silver medallist Castillo commented, “I’m really good on the downhill, but Iu is a real machine! I loved the place, the race, and we love this competition between us because we’re friends!

Italy’s Andrea Marinucci in the U23 fighting the strong winds on the upper part of the reduced SKY course. ©Discover Abruzzo

Norway’s Ida Waldal, after taking the gold in the VERTICAL, surprised the competition with a very strong race. She won with a 5’32” advantage over the Spanish duo Gabriela Lasalle who repeated a silver after the VERTICAL, and Martina Gonfaus.

Waldal commented, “I recovered well after the Vertical and today I felt better than expected! I managed to keep a good pace the whole time. The course has a lot of loose rocks and I slipped here and there, but I loved the race and I’m so happy!

Wrapping the annual Youth Skyrunning World Championships, Spain, Norway and Italy head the country rankings. Norway debuted in the 2019 Championships where they came third in the country ranking. Today, with a shower of medals, they take the second slot and look towards a bright future – representing a possible challenge to the Spanish dominance.

This year, 133 athletes from 19 countries battled on the international stage in the VERTICAL and SKY disciplines and for the COMBINED title.

The Youth Skyrunning World Championships, held annually since 2016, are aimed at developing and promoting the sport for the future and are supported in part by contributions from ISF members. The Championships are organised in collaboration with the Italian Skyrunning Federation (FISKY).

Gran Sasso SkyRace results
U23 Men
Gold – Kasper Fosser (NOR) 1h37’12”
Silver – Daniel Osanz (ESP) 1h39’41”
Bronze – Jonas Soldini (SUI) 1h40’58”

U23 Women
Gold – Barbora Macurová (CZE) 2h01’27”
Silver – Anna Guirado (ESP) 2h10’17”
Bronze – Martina Bilora (ITA) 2h10’20”

Youth B Men
Gold – Albert Perez (ESP) 1h42’10”
Silver – Lorenzo Rota Martir (ITA) 1h44’23”
Bronze – Marco Salvadori (ITA) 1h45’43”

Youth B Women
Gold – Moana Lilly Kehres (ESP) 2h09’03”
Silver – Francesca Gianola (ITA) 2h13’42”
Bronze – Laia Gonfaus (ESP) 2h13’52”

Youth A Men
Gold – Iu Net Puig (ESP) 1h42’49”
Silver – Jan Castillo (ESP) 1h44’17”
Bronze – Max Palmitjavila (AND) 1h53’54”

Youth A Women
Gold – Ida Waldal (NOR) 2h04’20”
Silver – Gabriela Lasalle (ESP) 2h09’52”
Bronze – Martina Gonfaus (ESP) 2h12’57”

U23 Men
Gold – Kasper Fosser (NOR)
Silver – Daniel Osanz (ESP)
Bronze – Jonas Soldini (SUI)

U23 Women
Gold – Barbora Macurová (CZE)
Silver – Anna Guirado (ESP)
Bronze – Martina Bilora (ITA)

Youth B Men
Gold – Albert Perez (ESP)
Silver – Lorenzo Rota Martir (ITA)
Bronze – Gontzalt Murgoitio (ESP)

Youth B Women
Gold – Moana Kehres (ESP)
Silver – Luca Nemeth (HUN)
Bronze – Laia Gonfaus (ESP)

Youth A Men
Gold – Iu Net Puig (ESP)
Silver – Jan Castillo (ESP)
Bronze – Max Palmitjavila (AND)

Youth A Women
Gold – Ida Waldal (NOR)
Silver – Gabriela Lasalle (ESP)
Bronze – Martina Gonfaus (ESP)

Full race results

Gold – Spain
Silver – Norway
Bronze – Italy

Medal count