Home favourite Tove Alexandersson, centre, won the women's long-distance event on the opening day of the IOF World Ski Orienteering Championships in Piteå in Sweden ©IOF

Home favourite Tove Alexandersson and Russia’s Andrey Lamov both claimed emphatic victories in the long-distance events as action got underway today at the International Orienteering Federation (IOF) World Ski Orienteering Championships in Piteå in Sweden.

IOF world ranking leader Alexandersson took the women’s title after completing a gruelling 20.06 kilometres course in a time of 1 hour 47min 53sec.

The 26-year-old was fastest throughout and led by nearly three minutes after 7km and more than six minutes after 14km.

Her nearest challenger was Russia’s Alena Trapeznikova, who finished in 1:54:04 to secure the silver medal.

Trapeznikova’s compatriot Mariya Kechkina came third in 1:54:40.

In the men’s race, Lamov proved he is back to top form with a win by nearly three minutes over Norway’s Lars Moholdt.

Lamov, the IOF world ranking leader, crossed the line in 1:52:12 with his rival following in 1:54:58.

Moholdt started relatively slowly and found himself in fifth place after 7km of the 22.47km course, but came through strongly to clinch the silver medal.

The Norwegian had 65 seconds in hand over the bronze medallist, Finland’s Tero Linnainmaa, ranked 11th in the world and who enjoyed one of his best-ever performances.

Action in Piteå is due to continue tomorrow with the sprint events.