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Women’s cross-country ski race in Norway marred by drunk fans fighting



A women’s classic cross-country ski race in Oslo was marred by drunken brawls among the spectators on Saturday, Norwegian police have said.

“There was fighting and there was also lashing out against the police,” said the Oslo police after trouble at the 50km event, held in and around the Norwegian capital’s famous Holmenkollen stadium.

The Norwegian broadcaster NRK reported that several fights broke out, with some fans storming the barriers towards the ski slope and falling over a fence there. In total, 130 individuals aged 16 to 20 reportedly required assistance from the Red Cross station in the area, either due to injuries or intoxication.

The race was won by Sweden’s Frida Karlsson who did not notice the spectacle but was booed as she approached the finish line. “It was certainly ungrateful. I thought: ‘Can’t you just feel sorry for me, please?’ I wasn’t feeling so good towards the end,” she said with a smile.

Another Swedish competitor, Moa Lundgren, told the newspaper Expressen that she had sensed a booze-fuelled atmosphere as she raced. “It really smelled of alcohol and something sweet out on the track,” she said.

“It was a naval battle,” Lundgren added, using a common Scandinavian expression for drunken chaos. Organisers will be determined to avoid a repeat of Saturday’s scenes when the men’s 50km race takes place at the same venue on Sunday.

Police operations manager Marita Aune told Norwegian news website Nettavisen that up to 50 spectators had been expelled from the venue during the day. “It has been challenging,” Aune said.

“Most have behaved, but it is challenging and difficult with heavily intoxicated young people,” she added. “Some have engaged in violence and fighting. There have been several fights, and some of these have moved to new places over time.”

Karlsson won the race, part of the FIS Cross Country World Cup, in a time of two hours, 20 minutes and 20 seconds, finishing 1min 20sec clear of compatriot Ebba Andersson with Germany’s Katharina Hennig in third.

“It was a lot of fun,” Karlsson said. “I worked so hard to get the gap. I had ice in my stomach, as we say in Sweden.” Runner-up Andersson also weighed in on fans’ behaviour, saying: “This has no place in a sports arena.”

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