Spain repeats victory at the Youth Skyrunning World Championships

Stars of the future assemble in Italy

A record-breaking number of 28 countries were represented by nearly 200 young athletes at the Youth Skyrunning World Championships in L’Aquila, Italy, last weekend.

Potential future champions, aged 16-23, assembled to claim the 54 medals at stake.

Sophia Sanchez, age 18-20 medallist in the Vertical

Sophia Sanchez, age 18-20 medallist in the Vertical

Marino Giacometti, president of the International Skyrunning Federation, commented: “These young skyrunners are incredible – records all round for this year’s championships with 28 nations, 13 of which got medals, new entries, fantastic performances…what else?  These young skyrunners are growing fast and light. They represent the future of our sport.”

 Medals were disputed across the vertical and Sky disciplines – with individual medals for each event and the combined title based on performance times on both. The two events are split into three age categories: Youth A (16-17), Youth B (18-20) and U23 (21-23). 

Competitors in Friday’s inaugural race had to tackle the weather as well as the course. The sunshine didn’t last, as it ended in a dramatic hail storm. The Vertical included the Gran Sasso Vertical Kilometer - a 3.5km event rolling out under the cable car, with 1000m vertical climb summiting at 2022m altitude! Although challenging, the weather seemed to bring out the best in the athletes – with the race record smashed, as well as the record of 11 countries taking part.

Vertical U23, medallists Yuki Amada (JPN), Daniel Osanz (ESP), Roberto Delorenzi (SUI).

Vertical U23, medallists Yuki Amada (JPN), Daniel Osanz (ESP), Roberto Delorenzi (SUI).

Under-23 Daniel Osanz of Spain won in 34:52, crushing the overall previous record set by Italian Hannes Perkmann in 2016. “We started with the sun and very hot temperatures and while going up we got wind, rain and hail, but I was able to push really hard. I’m so happy about this medal and for the new record,” he said. Both Youth A records were crumbled thanks to Norways Live Sollid and Andorra’s Oriol Olm. The fastest woman overall was Ekaterina Osichkina, just two days before her 20th birthday. However, her time of 45:46 still stands behind Paula Cabrerizo’s record. 

The Youth A category (16-17 year-olds) ran over a reduced 16km course. Norway’s Live Sollid, the winner of the VK on Friday, dominated again, taking 15 seconds off the previous record. Luca Nemeth (Hungary) and Luna De Bruin (Netherlands) joined her on the podium. Marco Salvadori (Italy) won the men’s race, also setting a new record, while Spain’s Aiotor Ugarte and Jon Baz took the silver and bronze respectively. 

Overall, Spain retained their title yet for the fourth consecutive time. Switzerland repeated last year’s silver, while Netherlands took home bronze. 

The Youth Skyrunning World Championships are held annually with a view of developing and promoting the sport. 

Click here for the full race results

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