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Another top skier withdraws from the World Cup in Gällivare

The Covid nightmare continues: Another top skier withdraws from the World Cup in Gällivare.

Photo: Tomi Hänninen/Bildbyrån

This weekend marks the second stage of the cross-country skiing World Cup in Gällivare, Sweden, on Saturday, December 2, and Sunday, December 3. However, several top skiers are missing, and now another star has tested positive for Covid.

In the past few days, Sweden announced its selection for the home World Cup in Gällivare. Many of the strongest skiers were absent, and on Wednesday evening, it became clear that yet another athlete will miss the race weekend on home soil.

“Johanna Hagström will not compete in this weekend’s World Cup in Gällivare. She has tested positive for Covid-19 and has mild cold symptoms. Therefore, she is leaving Gällivare,” the Swedish national team announced in a press release.

Hagström is deeply disappointed about missing the World Cup on home turf, according to Langrenn.com.

“It is, of course, extremely disappointing to have to go home because I was looking forward to the World Cup on Swedish soil. But it is just to accept the situation, try to get well, and hope that I can be ready to compete again soon,” says Hagström.

Massive Covid outbreak

Previously, the Swedish team was already missing several of its strongest skiers, including Jonna Sundling, Linn Svahn, and William Poromaa.

Frida Karlsson also tested positive for Covid but is relatively symptom-free. The national team kept the possibility open for Karlsson, who leads the overall World Cup after the opening weekend in Ruka, to participate in Saturday’s 10-kilometer freestyle.

Winning the overall World Cup is a primary goal for the 24-year-old, and according to World Cup rules, athletes are heavily penalized for skipping races for any reason.

But now, Karlsson’s personal coach has put his foot down:

“The rule is that when you have an infection, you should not carry it around in your body,” says coach Per Nilsson.

Karlsson thus joins the growing group of Swedish athletes who will miss the World Cup round on home soil.

Read also: Ski Classics star tests positive for Covid

Reintroducing pandemic measures

The national team is still awaiting more test results and does not rule out further Covid-related withdrawals. Now, the team is reverting to pandemic precautions, almost a complete shutdown.

“We are in a situation where several members of the team have tested positive for Covid-19 after the World Cup races in Ruka. It is, of course, unfortunate, and we are now implementing a range of measures to reduce further spread, as many of our athletes are already in Gällivare,” says team doctor Rickard Noberius, explaining, “We will, among other things, have regular testing, use face masks, be diligent with hand sanitizer, and all meals will be taken in the rooms.”

On the schedule in Gällivare are the 10-kilometer freestyle on Saturday and the 4×7.5 km relay on Sunday.

Read also: Norwegian team for the Gällivare World Cup

FACTS Gällivare World Cup Season 2023/2024

  • When: Saturday, December 2 to Sunday, December 3 
  • Who: Elite national skiers – women and men
  • Where: Gällivare, Sweden
  • What: FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Ruka, Finland

PROGRAM

Saturday, December 2: 10km Interval Start Freestyle (More details can be found here)

  • 9:45 CET: 10km Interval Start F, Women
  • 12:00 CET: 10km Interval Start F, Men

Sunday, December 3: 4×7.5km Relay Classic/Freestyle (More details can be found here)

  • 9:50 CET: 4×7.5km Relay C/F, Women
  • 12:00 CET: 4×7.5km Relay C/F, Men

Read More: Gällivare World Cup: Complete program for the weekend

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