SOCHI, February 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian athletes are set to win medals in cross-country individual freestyle sprint, biathlon, speed skating and luge on Tuesday.
At 14:00 Moscow time the most expected sport event of another Sochi Olympics day, the men’s and women’s individual freestyle sprint will begin. In the men’s sprint Russia pins hopes on Nikita Kryukov, gold medallist of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and current world champion. Kryukov will face rather strong rivals. These are Norwegian Petter Northug disappointed with his failure in skiathlon and 2011 World Champion Marcus Hellner of Sweden. Alexei Petukhov, who won bronze in the team sprint at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, also has a good chance to win.
In the women’s individual sprint Norwegian triple Olympic champion Marit Bjorgen seeks to win her second gold in Sochi and will compete with experienced American Kikkan Randall, Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla and Poland’s Justina Kowalczyk. Russia will be represented by Anastasia Dotsenko, Natalia Matveyeva, Irina Khazova and Yevgeniya Shapovalova.
The men’s sprint free finals will start at 17:30 Moscow time and the women’s sprint free finals at 17:22.
At 16:45 Moscow time the ladies’ 500m speed skating race will begin. Among the favorites from Russia is Olga Fatkulina from Chelyabinsk, the Urals city. She won bronze at Speed Skating ISU World Cup 2013 in Sochi last December and came 20th at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Canada’s Vancouver. South Korea’s Lee Sang-Hwa, gold medallist of the Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2012 and 2013 world champion, is considered the odds-on favourite.
Aside from Fatkulina, Russians - Angelina Golikova, Yekaterina Lobysheva and Yekaterina Malysheva - will compete in the race.
The medals will be also awarded in luge. After the women’s single run 1 and run 2 on Monday German athletes Natalie Geisenberger and Tatjana Huefner forged ahead. Russians Natalia Khoreva came fourth, Tatiana Ivanova ended the luge racing seventh and Yekaterina Baturina was twelfth.
One of the most attention grabbing events on this day will be women’s pursuit in biathlon. After the sprint event on Sunday Olga Vilukhina, who will get on course 20 seconds behind biathlon sprint champion, Slovakia’s Anastasiya Kuzmina, has a good chance to win. Darya Domracheva of Belarus and Tora Berger of Norway, who will start 30 minutes behind Kuzmina, should not be disregarded.
Vilukhina in the pursuit will be accompanied by Yana Romanova, Olga Zaitseva and Yekaterina Shumilova.
The day will end with the first-ever women’s ski jumping event at the Winter Olympics. Russia has a medal hope in ski jumping star Irina Avvakumova, who won FIS Women’s Ski Jumping World Cup in Chaikovsky, Russia Perm Territory, and had five more medals this season. The event’s favourite is Japanese Sara Takanashi, just 17, silver medallist of the ski jumping World Cup and repeat winner of several ski jumping events this season.