Sweden’s Jönsson wins Stockholm palace sprint

Emil Jönsson became the first Swede to claim victory in the Stockholm palace sprint on Wednesday, beating off the challenge of a slew of Norwegian skiers in the World Cup event.

Sweden's Jönsson wins Stockholm palace sprint

Jönsson lived up to his number one sprint billing by winning the event which is held each year around the Royal Palace in Stockholm and which brought the World Cup season to a close.

“It is definitely the nicest victory of the year,” Jönsson said.

The reigning world bronze medallist, who had already won the discipline’s crystal globe, finished ahead of Norwegian duo Petter Northug and Ola Vigen Hattestad for his 10th victory on the World Cup circuit.

Despite his second place, triple world champion Northug will be unable to dethrone Switzerland’s Dario Cologna from atop the overall World Cup standings.

Jönsson’s Sweden team mate Marcus Hellner was forced to pull out of the race with a sore throat.

The Royal Palace Sprint is a World Cup tournament which in 2011 was being held for the eighth time.

The race takes place in central Stockholm on a course stretching 1,030 metres around the Baroque style palace which dates back to the 13th century and is located on the edge of the Old Town.

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Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.