Casey Wright & Anna Trnka Top 4 in 5km Qualification

Falun 2015 Race Report # 1 – Qualification Races

On Wednesday February 18 the 5/10km qualification races were held at the 2015 World Championship in Falun. Casey Wright and Anna Trnka came out firing in the 4km Freestyle, taking out 3rd and 4th place in a tight race for the podium. Just 0.3 seconds separated the two 20-year-old Australians, both whom now have the opportunity to race another distance race at the championship. In the men’s 10km Freestyle Jackson Bursill finished 22nd and Mark Pollock 43rd, unfortunately not quite fast enough to qualify through.

The A qualification standard for the World Championship distance races is 120 FIS points for women and 90 FIS points for men. All other athletes must first race the qualification races, from which the top 10 skiers in each event are then able to start further distance events at the championship.

The last starter in the field of 45 athletes, Anna started well and was in 2nd place at the first time split near the top of the course, with Casey about five seconds back in 4th place. At the 2.8km mark Anna had dropped back to 3rd, six seconds behind 2nd and one second ahead of Casey. Casey cross the finish line in 3rd place, and held onto the podium place by a couple of boot lengths when Anna finished a minute later. The race was won by Chi from China.

In the 10km Jackson was in the hunt for a top 10 place early on, just six seconds out of 9th place at the first split. At the 5km mark he was in 15th, 16 seconds from 10th, but from there the time gaps grew and he dropped to 22nd on the second lap. Mark also had a faster start, in 28th place at the top of the course on the first lap before gradually dropping places to end up 43rd out of the field of 69 as the race progressed. Neither of the boys felt like they were able to ski with the form that they had shown earlier in the season. The 10km was won by Belomazhev from Bulgaria.

Full results are available on the FIS site and also on the Falun 2015 site. This Fasterskier article provides some more information on the qualification race and a good shot of Casey on the podium.

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