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    The first of the winter season's cross-country ski competitions took placer in the U.S.S.R. on?

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    The first of the winter season's cross-country ski competitions took placer in the U.S.S.R. on Tuesday and Wednesday last week (25 and 26 December). The competition was staged in the countryside around Krasnogorsk, near the capital, Moscow.

    Almost 200 men and women skiers took par in the series of races, designed to produced candidates for the Soviet national cross country ski team. The 15 kms. (9.3 miles) men's race was won by Moscow skier Sergei Savelyev in a time of 47.42 minutes. Vasili Rogachyov from Siktivkar in the Komi region of the U.S.S.R. took firs place in the 20 km. (12.4 mile) event. In the women's section both the 5 km. and 8 km. (3.1 and 4.9 mile) races were won by 22-year-old Raisa Semtanina, also from Siktivkar.

    The event saw the return to competition skiing of Vyacheslav Vedenin, aa forme Olympic medallist, who has been out of action for some time because of serious injury. Vedenin did well to take seventh place in both the 15 km. and 20 km. mens cross-country races.

    Cross-country skiing is the fastest growing ski adventure. The sport is derived from he traditional form of Nordic winter travel, and uses narrower skis with no metal edges. Nordic skiing, as it is also known, requires a less rigid ski-boot of softish leather, which fastens to the ski only at the toe. With the heel free, the skier is able to run with the ski across difficult terrain. One of the reason put forward for the growth in popularity of cross-country skiing is that the increasing number of downhill skiers are crowding out the more accessible winter slopes.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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