Clearly the single outstanding highlight of August was Tim Robertson’s silver medal in the WOC sprint – the first ever podium finish at WOC for NZL. However, there were other pleasing results, as well as a few disappointments. Also, we should not forget the performances of Georgia Skelton at the Junior WMTBO Champs in Austria. So, for those not saturated by WOC and WMYBOC coverage…read on. For those who are, a few other snippets, including, hot off the press, results from World Cup Round 3.
As above, the highlight of WOC occurred on the very first day of competition with Tim’s medal. Nonetheless, quite apart from this Laura Robertson’s 23rd place in the women’s final was her best WOC result to date, and Imogene Scott, only having arrived less than 24 hours before the sprint, did well to make the final as the last qualifier in her heat, just as she did in Scotland in 2015.
After the concern espoused last year that the WOC sprint was becoming much more biased towards speed at the expense of navigation, the 2018 final was actually quite technical and this certainly worked to Tim’s advantage. The weather gods also lent a hand as heavy rain started just as the men’s race commenced, and made the cobbles in Riga Old Town very slippery. This certainly helped by further reducing any advantage to be gained by the speedsters – it was remarkable to see athletes almost tip-toeing round the sharp bend in the arena run-through.
As manager it was really pleasing to receive congratulations (as if I had anything to do with it!) from a large number of the other officials who were genuinely please at Tim’s success. I think it shows how respected New Zealand orienteering is starting to become.
Apart from Tim, Laura and Imogene (for whom travel caught up in the final), both Toby Scott and Cameron de L’Isle missed qualifying by relatively small margins, in Toby’s case by only 23 seconds.
Qualification Men A: 1. Tim Robertson 11:44, 2. Ahmet Kazmaz (TUR) 11:51, 3. Andrey Khramov (RUS) 11:54.
Qualification Men B: 1. Yannick Mich1els (BEL) 11:00, 2. Artem Popov (RUS) 11:12, 3. Piotr Parflanowicz (POL) 11:15, 21. Toby Scott 12:12.
Qualification Men C: 1. Jonas Leandersson (SWE) 11:36, 2. Milos Nykodym (CZE) 11:46, 3. Luca Basset (FRA) 11:50, 24. Cameron de L’Isle 13:26.
Qualification Women A: 1. Karolin Ohlssson (SWE) 12:00, 2. Virag Weiler (HUN) 12:11, 3. Megan Carter-Davies (GBR) 12:14, 8. Laura Robertson 12:35.
Qualification Women B: 1. Judith Wyder (SUI) 11:43, 2. Lina Strand (SWE) 12:19, 3. Natalia Gemperle (RUS) 12:27, 15. Imogene Scott 13:34.
Qualification Women C: 1. Maja Alm (DEN) 12:20, 2. Anastasia Denisova (BLR) 12:30, 3. Anastasia Rudnaya (RUS) 12:47.
Final Men: 1. Daniel Hubmann (SUI) 14:05, 2. Tim Robertson 14:07, 3. Andreas Kyburz (SUI) 14:26, 4. Yannick Michiels (BEL) 14:26.3, 5. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 14:28, 6. Emil Svensk (SWE) 14:28.
Final Women: 1. Maja Alm (DEN) 13:43, 2. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 14:00, 3. Judith Wyder (SUI) 14:10, 4. Elena Roos (SUI) 14:16m 5. Lina Strand (SWE) 14:28, 6. Karolin Ohlsson (SWE) 14:32, 23. Laura Roberston 15:40, 41. Imogene Scott 17:21.
Sunday’s sprint relay was both pleasing and disappointing in almost equal measure. Although NZL matched its previous best finish (Scotland, 2015) the hopes that a top 10 place could be achieved went begging. Laura and Tim on the first two legs did an excellent job, Laura coming in 14th, but less than a minute down, and Tim then posting the second fastest leg 2 time as he pulled us into 6th place at the second changeover. Unfortunately Cameron, post JWOC, was a little off the pace on leg 3, and it was left to Lizzie, despite a lack of speed work and aided by a last leg mis-punch by Spain, to pull us back up to 12th.
1. Sweden 58:27, 2. Switzerland 58:58, 3. Denmark 59:14, 4. Norway 59:44, 5. Czech Republic 59;50, 6. Russia 59:51, 12. New Zealand 1:03:54 (Laura Robertson 15:20, Tim Robertson 14:49, Cameron de L’Isle 17:39, Lizzie Ingham 16:06).
The results achieved in the middle distance by Lizzie (24th) and Tim (30th) were excellent. A single error caused Lizzie to miss the top 20, while Tim’s performance showed his growing maturity and confidence in the forest. Matt was extremely disappointed as he had clearly targeted the middle distance. However, he was perhaps a little too hyped up and one major, error on control 3 left him with little incentive to push harder for the rest of the race. Laura achieved her best finish since Scotland in 2015.
Men: 1. Eskil Kinneberg (NOR) 32:59, 2. Daniel Hubmann (SUI) 33:05, 3. Florian Howald (SUI) 33:13, 4. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 33:22, 5. Oleksander Kratov (UKR) 33:38, 6. Olav Lundanes (NOR) 33:42, 30. Tim Robertson 38:06, 60. Matt Ogden 47:33.
Women: 1. Natalia Gemperle (RUS) 32:02, 2. Marika Teine (FIN) 33:32, 3. Isla basset (FRA) 33:56, 4. Sabine Hauswirth (SUI) 34:01, 5. Jana Knapov (CZE) 34:04, 6. Sara Hagstrom (SWE) 34:17, 24. Lizzie Ingham 37:41, 45. Laura Robertson 42:41.
The 2018 WOC relays produced very contrasting performances by the men and women. Tim, Matt and Gene were impressive in taking 17th place (out of 38 teams). Had Gene not still been suffering the after effects of the bug that had hit him the week before, things might have been even better. Both Tim and Matt ran excellent legs and had a fully fit Gene been able to match their leg times a placing as high as 13th or 14th would have been conceivable. This performance, in particular, showed the benefit of the fact that all three had spent considerable time training in Latvia in the weeks prior to WOC. In contrast, at one stage it looked as if the women would finish ahead of only the very minor nations such as Japan, Korea and China. Fortunately, a good final leg by Lizzie rescued the situation somewhat after first Laura, and then Imogene, had been well off the pace. It’s now 3 years in a row that the women have struggled in the relay – Sweden, Estonia and Latvia – and since a wonderful 14th place in Scotland.
Men: 1. Norway 1:47:26, 2. Switzerland 1:47:30, 3. France 1:47:36, 4. Austria 1:47:43, 5. Czech Republic 1:48:02, 6. Great Britain 1:48:03, 17. New Zealand 2:01:26 (Tim Robertson 39:00, Matt Ogden 39:08, Gene Beveridge 43:18).
Women: 1. Switzerland 1:45:03, 2. Sweden 1:45:18, 3. Russia 1:47:20, 4. Norway 1:50:09, 5. Finland 1:54:56, 6. Denmark 1:55:09, 19. New Zealand 2:20:02 (Laura Robertson 48:42, Imogene Scott 50:54, Lizzie Ingham 40:26).
The standout performance in the long distance came from Matt, whose 39th place was only just outside the top half of the field and was testament to his physical and mental recovery from his middle distance disaster. Gene, still suffering post-bug also did exceptionally well to record 49th, even though this did not match his performance from last year. As she predicted it would, the lack of background training post-operation caught up with Lizzie but she battled gamely on to finish 46th. Not having contemplated running at WOC until the withdrawal of Kate Morrison, Imogene struggled finishing 60th.
Men: 1. Olav Lundanes (NOR) 1:37:43, 2. Ruslan Glibov (UKR) 1:40:20, 3. Fabian Hertner (SUI) 1:40:47, 4. Daniel Hubmann (SUI) 1:41:32, 5. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 1:41:34, 6. Eskil Kinneberg (NOR) 1:42:35, 39. Matt Ogden 2:03:26, 49. Gene Beveridge 2:16:06.
Women: 1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 1:14:04, 2. Maja Alm (DEN) 1:15:31, 3. Sabine Hauswirth (SUI) 1:16:30, 4. Natalia Gemperle (RUS) 1:20:03, 5. Kamilla Olaussen (NOR) 1:20:59, 6. Andrine Benjaminsen (NOR) 1:21:48, 46. Lizzie Ingham 1:47:48, 44. Imogene Scott 2:09:07.
So what do we take from WOC2018 overall? Perhaps the best lesson is the benefit of booking accommodation early as the Air B&B Laimnieki was by far and away the best accommodation for many years! Beyond that it will require a little more analysis, although we can say that, as WOC now splits into separate forest and sprint competitions from next year, the group qualification system will only apply to the long distance. There has been quite a re-adjustment to the way points are calculated to allow for this, but the end result is that both the NZL men and women have retained their Group 2 status for 2019 in Norway. This means that the women will have 2 in the long distance, while the men, courtesy of the fact that with the Oceania Championships being post-WOC, the men will actually have 3 places. This results from Gene being the reigning Oceania Champion from 2017.
WMTBOC and Junior WMTBOC
In one of those strange, and somewhat annoying, conflicts, whilst WOC was going on in Latvia the World MTBO Championships were being held in Austria at both Junior and Senior level. New Zealand had three representatives, Conal Boland-Bristow in the Senior Men, and Georgia Skelton and Tegan Knightbridge in the Junior Women.
The championships kicked off with the mass start race where Georgia, foreshadowing what was to be a remarkable week for her, was the top Kiwi finishing in 11th place. This wa sonly 16 seconds from 6th place and the posium.Tegan, fresh(?) from WUOC was a dnf, while Conal was well down the field in the elite men’s race that covered nearly 26 km.
Senior Men: 1. Jussi Laurila (FIN) 1:20:46, 2. Davide Machado (POR) 1:20:49, 3. Kevin Haselsberger (AUT) 1:20:50, 4. Anton Foliforov (RUS) 1:20:51, 5. Simon Brandli (SUI) 1:20:52, 6. Grigory Medvedev (RUS) 1:21:06, 69. Conal Boland-Bristow 1:50:36.
Junior Women: 1. Uliana Sukholovskaya (RUS) 1:12:17, 2. Alena Fedoseeva (RUS) 1:13:10, 3. Kaarina Nurminen (FIN) 1:13:36, 4. Lea Hniliica (AUT) 1:20:19, 5. Anastasia Cherednikova (RUS) 1:20:44, 6. Tatiana Gubernatorova (RUS) 1:22:00, 11. Georgia Skelton 1:22:16, Tegain Knightbridge dnf.
Following this encouraging start, Georgia really hit the headlines in the middle distance, finishing in 4th place to become only the second NZL junior (after Tim Robertson) to make the podium at these championships. After, starting in the middle of the field Georgia was always in the top half dozen and pulled away to take 4th place only in the last 5 minutes of the race, finishing only 90 seconds away from the bronze medal. Tegan was a further 20 minutes back finishing in 24th place, while, in an elite men’s race in which there were 24 mis-punches and 5 dsq’s, Conal finished in 52nd place.
Senior Men: 1. Simon Braendli (SUI) 1:02:14, 2. Baptiste Fuchs (FRA) 1:03:18, 3. Grigory Medvedev (RUS) 1:03:51, 4. Krystof Bogar (CZE) 1:05:07, 5. Jussi Laurila (FIN) 1:05:18, 6. Jiri Hradil (CZE) 1:05:27, 52. Conal Boland-Bristow 1:38:22.
Junior Women: 1. Vilma Kralova (CZE) 51:39, 2. Constance Devillers (FRA) 52:51, 3. Alena Fedoseeva (RUS) 54:02, 4. Georgia Skelton 55:35, 5. Austeja Kalvaityte (LTH) 56:21, 6. Pinja Koskinen (FIN) 57:38, 24. Tegan Knightbridge 1:14:44.
With no relay team the 3 NZL team members then had a 3 day wait before being back in action in the long distance. Once again there were a lot of disqualifications in the senior men, one of whom was Conal. Georgia had her worst result of the week, recording a mispunch. It was left to Tegan to be the only New Zealnder to produce a result, finishing 18th.
Senior Men: 1. Krystof Bogar (CZE) 1:56:13, 2. Simon Braendli (SUI) 1:58:20, 3. Anton Foliforov (RUS) 1:59:31, 4. Jussi Laurila (FIN) 2:01:16, 5. Valeriy Gluhov (RUS) 2:01:27, 6. Vojtech Ludvik (CZE) 2:02;04, Conal Boland-Bristow dsq.
Junior Women: 1. Constance Devillers (FRA) 1:34:06, 2. Vilma Krlova (CZE) 1:35:06, 3. Lucie Rudkiewicz (FRA) 1:40:13, 4. Uliana Sukholovskaya (RUS) 1:40:51, 5. Marina Oparina (RUS) 1:43:54, 6. Anastasia Cherednikova (RUS) 1:46:13, 18. Tegan Knightbridge 2:10:56, Georgia Skelton mp.
Proceedings culminated in the sprint race where once again Georgia made the podium, this time with a 6th place finsh, again only seconds away from a medal. Tegan finished in 19th place, while Conal was 79th in the Senior Men.
Senior Men: 1. Anton Foliforov (RUS) 20:39, 2. Grigory Medvedev (RUS) 20:51, 3. Krystof Bogar (CZE) 20:53, 4. Vojtech Ludvik (CZE) 20:59, 5. Valeriy Gluhov (RUS) 21:01, 6. Ruslan Gritsan (RUS) 21:09, 79. Conal Boland Bristow 44:01.
Junior Women: 1. Vilma Kralova (CZE) 16:19, 2. Uliana Sukholovaskaya (RUS) 16:53, 3. Lea Hnilica (AUT) 17:08, 4. Lucie Rudkiewicz (FRA) 17:19, 5. Alena Fedoseeva (RUS) 17:27, 6. Georgia Skelton 17:36, 19. Tegan Knightbridge 19:27.
JWOC, WOC, Squads and Squad Camps
One of the questions arising from the looming split between forest and sprint WOC is “what are the implications for National Squad selection?” At this stage the proposal is that from next year the National Senior Squad will split into separate forest and sprint squads. There will inevitably be a reasonable degree of cross over with many athletes being in both squads but, perhaps more importantly, it also means that selection criteria will be applied separately to forest and sprint events. It is also proposed that there will be a tiered membership with those who qualify through performances at WOC, World Cup, and named international races being designated as “Elite” members in whichever discipline they meet this criterion. Hopefully there will also be the introduction of specific benefits for those who classify as “Elite” which will provide a performance incentive for both these and others.
There is no intention at this stage for a similar separation in the U23 Squad, although there will also be changes to the selection criteria for this. Most noticeably there will be a requirement to have been active at National level over the preceding year. What is on the horizon for JWOC, however, is the possibility of the introduction of a sprint relay. All Federations are currently in the process of completing a questionnaire on the desirability of this, and, should it be introduced, what will be dropped from the JWOC programme. This results from a clear directive from IOF that they do not wish the JWOC programme to be extended.
While talking of Squads, the U23 Camp will be held, based in Masterton, from 8-14 December. Places will be limited to an absolute maximum of 40. Applications will be called for shortly through the ONZ website. Given the difficulty of finding times for lengthy HP camps which are suitable for a majority of squad members, it is also planned that in 2019 there will be a series of shorter camps (largely weekends) held in different locations. The idea at present is for a weekend camp in the lower North Island in February, a weekend sprint camp at a suitable venue in March, a slightly longer camp post-ONZ Championships in Canterbury, and a weekend camp in Auckland in May. More details to follow.
World Cup Round 3
Coming only three weeks after WOC it was almost possible to overlook the 3rd round of the 2019 World Cup. This is on fact the pre-WOC event for 2019, being held in Ostfeld, Norway, the venue for WOC2019, and as a result attracting an even larger than normal field. NZL had three runners: Tim Robertson and Cameron de L’Isle in the men, and Lizzie Ingham in the women’s field.
Racing started on the last day of August with a shortened long distance, although for the men this was still 13.6 km, the women having a more modest 9.3 km. Both Tim and Lizzie had solid runs finishing 62nd and 63rd respectively in the large fields. Cameron, in his first WC/WOC race of this nature, quite understandably found the going tough, finishing near the back of the men’s field. In the men’s race Swedes, Norwegians and Swiss filled 13 of the top 16 places. Things were similar in the women with Scandinavians and 2 Russians making up 9 of the top 10.
For those contemplating WOC2019 the map is worth studying, showing the usual, for this part of Norway, mix of complex contour detail crossed by bands of rocks and cliffs and the usual mix of marshes and semi-open areas. Little, however, in the way of green.
Men: 1. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 1:17:36, 2. Olav Lundanes (NOR) 1:18:11, 3. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 1:21:10, 4. Emil Svensk (SWE) 1;22:13, 5. Albin Ridfelt (SWE) 1:22:24, 6. Magne Daehli (NOR) 1:23:37, 62. Tim Robertson 1;36:31, 102. Cameron de L’Isle 2:11:29.
Women: 1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 1:04:33, 2. Kamilla Olaussen (NOR) 1:08:02, 3. Karolin Ohlsson (SWE) 1:09:14, 4. Marianne Andersen (NOR) 1:09:47, 5. Marika Teine (FIN) 1:11:12, 6. Lina Strand (SWE) 1:11:30, 63. Lizzie Ingham 1:26:38.
Saturday’s race took a more unusual format. It started with a morning Prologue with winning times of about 20 minutes, before an afternoon race of approximately double this which had a chasing start. However, to account for the difference in lengths of the two races the interval between starters in the afternoon was double that of the gap in the morning finishing times. This is a format that Norway are reportedly pushing for inclusion into WOC. Needless to say, packing was very tight in the morning races, where, again, both Tim and Lizzie ran good races. Sufficiently so that, for example, Tim’s 55th place was only a minute away from 35th! As in the long, Cameron was again off the pace.
Men: 1. Johan Runesson (SWE) 21:22, 2. Albin Ridefelt (SWE) 22:00, 3. Daniel Hubmann (SUI) 22:07, 55. Tim Robertson 25:10, 112. Cameron de L’Isle 35:54.
Women: 1. Tove Alexxandersson (SWE) 19:03, 2. Anastasia Rudnaya (RUS) 20:26, 3. Karolin Ohlsson (SWE) 20:32, 38. Lizzie Ingham 23:43.
The density of the chasing start was shown in the afternoon when there was a mass sprint finish in the men’s race with the top 7 covered by only 6 seconds. Winner William Lind had in fact started 17th in the chasing start and ran through all those ahead of him. Tim did even better than this, reportedly putting his map in his pocket and concentrating simply on catching those in front, picking up 23 places to finish in 32nd. The women’s race was not as dramatic with the only change in the top three being a swap of 2nd and 3rd. Lizzie finished in exactly her starting position of 38th. The first time shown below for each athlete is relative to the start time of the fastest in the morning, the bracketed time is the actual running time.
Men: 1. William Lind (SWE) 45:06 (41:42), 2. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 45:07 (43:19), 3. Frederic Tranchard (FRA) 45:08 (42:48), 32. Tim Robertson 51:28 (43:52), Cameron de L’Isle dns
Women: 1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 42:08 (42:08), 2. Karolin Ohlsson (SWE) 45:42 (42:44), 3. Anastasia Rudnaya (RUS) 45:53 (43:07), 38. Lizzie Ingham 54:51 (45:31)
Tim, Cameron and Lizzie now proceed to World Cup Round 4 in Czech Republic at the beginning of October where they will be joined by Toby Scott and Laura Robertson for a middle distance, a sprint, a sprint relay and the new KO sprint format.