A little later in the year than usual, but the first forest only WOC since the advent of sprint orienteering has now come and gone. The compressed programme compared to previous years left little time for reflection during the event, those appear below. WOC has also left little time to consider other issues so the additional items are a little thin, although there are a few things from the Foot-O commission, and a look ahead at the 2020 international calendar that should help with forward planning for many.
Another WOC is over with, to be honest, mixed results for team NZL. The highlight was undoubtedly the long distance in which Lizzie Ingham’s 25th was her best placing in this since her debut in France in 2011, andToby Scott (30th) and Gene Beveridge (34th) produced the best men’s results since Chris Forne in Switzerland in 2012. By way of contrast it was a little disappointing to have only Lizzie and Tim Robertson make the final of the middle distance, in which both of them made mistakes that resulted in lower finishes than hoped for. Both Lizzie and Tim, however, produced excellent first legs in the respective relays, Unfortunately these high positions could not be maintained.
Proceedings started off with the middle distance qualification heats at Knatterudfjellet north of Sarpsborg. Lizzie qualified a reasonably comfortable 11th in Heat 2 although she did not have a clean run. Tim, after being in 7th place in his heat at the split time with 1km to go, left NZL on edge as he then made a reasonably big mistake and ended up 14thof the 15 qualifiers. In the other women’s heats Greta Knarston made a big error on control 3, misreading a series of cliffs and overshooting the control as a result, effectively putting her out of contention to qualify. Kate Morrison felt she had a relatively clean run but found it hard going physically ending up 2 and a half minutes and 4 places off the cut. All the winners times in the women’s heats were about 4 minutes longer than the expected 25 minutes, even accounting for the really top runners looking as if they were out for a jog. It looked for a while as if Tommy Hayes might squeak into the men’s final, but with several of the fastest starters having late starts he ended up 22nd and a similar time off as Greta. Cameron de L’isle was well outside qualifying.
Men Heat 1: 1. Olav Lundanes (NOR) 24:20, 2. Daniel Hubmann (SUI) 25:12, 3. Oleksandr Kratov (UKR) 26:25, 22. Tommy Hayes (NZL) 32:02.
Men Heat 2: 1. Lucas Basset (FRA) 24:49, 2. Magne Daehli (NOR) 25:40, 3. Jonas Vytautas Gvildys (LTH) 25:53, 31. Cameron de L’Isle (NZL) 35:40.
Men Heat 3: 1. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 25:21, 2. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 25:38, 3. Aleksi Niemi (FIN) 26:17, 14. Tim Robertson (NZL) 29:04
Women Heat 1: 1. Anne Margrethe Hasuken Nordberg (NOR) 28:59, 2. Natalie Gemperle (RUS) 29:28, 3. Evely Kaasiku (EST) 30:13, 22. Greta Knarston (NZL) 38:42.
Women Heat 2: 1. Kamilla Olaussen (NOR) 29:16, 2. Lina Strand (SWE) 29:23, 3. Marika Teini (FIN) 29:57, 11. Lizzie Ingham (NZL) 32:40.
Women Heat 3: 1. Cecilie Friberg Klysner (DEN) 28:45, 2. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 28:51, 3. Marianne Andersen (NOR) 29:20, 19. Kate Morrison (NZL) 38:59.
The venue for the long, the middle final and the relays was centred on Mørk golf course giving an arena whichfeatured a view, across the green sward, of the surrounding forest and plenty of warning of approaching runners, although the subsequent rain on the day of the relay, and the resulting quagmire, might well delay the resumption of golf!
In the long distance, run the day after middle qualification, Toby Scott produced his most impressive run in years when he finished in 30th place. Toby was just under 4 minutes ahead of Gene Beveridge who also contributed to an impressive team performance in finishing 34th. With both of them having early s tart times they actually filled 1st and 2nd places for quite some time, gaining the honour of sitting side-by-side in a giant “winner’s” chair! Cameron de L’Isle found the going much tougher but hung on for 62nd place. The men’s title went, for the 4th year in a row, to local favourite Olav Lundanes. However, Olav had his work cut out to hold out the JWOC gold medallist Kasper Fosser, running at his first WOC. The winning margin was just over 90 seconds. The the Swiss pair of Daniel Hubmann and Matthias Kyburz were in 3rd and 4th ahead of O-Ringen winner Ruslan Glibov of Ukraine.
Men: 1. Olav Lundanes (NOR) 1:30:09, 2. Kasper Fosser (NOR) 1:31:48, 3. Daniel Hubmann (SUI) 1:33:07, 4. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 1:33:10, 5. Ruslan Glibov (UKR) 1:33:24, 6. Magne Daehli (NOR) 1:35:37, 30. Toby Scott (NZL) 1:48:38, 34. Gene Beveridge (NZL) 1:52:00, 62. Cameron de L’Isle (NZL) 2:10:30.
Both men’s (https://woc2019.no/files/maps/WOC2019_Long_Men.pdf) and women’s (https://woc2019.no/files/maps/WOC2019_Long_Women.pdf) races featured two very long legs. In the women’s race it was hesitation on these legs that Lizzie Ingham felt cost her a top 20 placing, which was ultimately only about 2 minutes away. Like Cameron, Greta Knarston struggled but gamely finished 56th, earning NZL vital points in the quest for retaining Group 2 status. At the front of the field Tove Alexandersson matched Lundanes’ feat of a fourth consecutive title, completely destroyeing the field with a massive winning margin of over 6 minutes. Lina Strand made it a Swedish 1-2 when she edged out last year’s JWOC star Simona Aebersold of Switzerland for the silver, with Marika Teini (Finland) and Sabine Hauswirth (Switzerland) filling 4th and 5th ahead of a tie for 6th betweenVenla Harju and Karolin Ohlsson.
Women: 1. Tove Alexanderssson (SWE) 1:09:00, 2. Lina Strand (SWE) 1:15:16, 3. Simona Aebersold (SUI) 1:15:50, 4. Marika Teini (FIN) 1:16:02, 5. Sabine Hauswirth (SUI) 1:18:26, 6= Venla Harju (FIN) 1:19:14, 6= Karolin Ohlsson (SWE) 1:19:14, 25. Lizzie Ingham (NZL) 1:28:54, 56. Greta Knarston (NZL) 1:55:04
After a day rest competition resumed at Mørk with the middle distance final. This was the one that Lizzie had targeted, but after a small waver on control 2, she came unstuck on control 11 where she drifted left and took some time to correct, ending up in oscillatory motion between 11 and 12. Her face at the arena passage told it all. Tim, similarly, started relatively well but his race faltered when he overshot control 4, bouncing off the rocky hilltop beyond. He was subsequently hindered further when he smashed his leg on a rock just before the arena passage. The women’s race was a very close finish between the gold and bronze medallists from the long distance with Tove Alexandersson literally throwing herself across the line to beat Simona Aebersold by 5 seconds. Simona had in fact led by 3 seconds at the arena run-through but then took a much wider route to control 17 while Tove went straight, making up the time difference and giving herself just enough margin as she tightened up in the finish chute. The next 5 runners were covered by a mere 7 seconds with the bronze medal shared by 2018 champion Natalia Gemperle of Russia and Venla Harju of Finland.
Women: 1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 38:20, 2. Simona Aebersold (SUI) 38:25, 3=. Natalia Gemperle (RUS) 40:05, 3=. Venla Harju (FIN) 40:05, 5. Anne Margarethe Hausken Nordberg (NOR) 40:07, 6. Sabine Hauswirth (SUI) 40:08, 38=. Lizzie Ingham (NZL) 49:13.
The men’s race saw a second gold medal for Olav Lundanes as he added the middle crown to his long distance win. Olav’s margin over Gustav Bergman was 11 seconds with a further 18 seconds back to Magne Daehli who, having won several relay medals, finally took his first individual one.
Men: 1. Olav Lundanes (NOR) 34:18, 2. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 34:29, 3. Magne Daehli (NOR) 34:47, 4. Emil Svensk (SWE) 34:48, 5. Lucas Basset (FRA) 35:20, 6. Frederic Tranchard (FRA) 36:09, 39. Tim Robertson (NZL) 42:47.
The relay day at Mørk was one of the wettest days I have encountered at an orienteering event. The rain started overnight and by the time Lizzie set off on the first leg of the women’s relay there were puddles and mud everywhere. Both relays started with a relatively short loop prior to the area passage after which there was a much longer loop out to the east of the arena.
In the women’s race Lizzie ran a strong first leg with no significant time loss to come in 14th at the change over to Kate. After the first short loop that position had slipped to 17th and at as Greta took over for the third leg NZL were in 19th place. After a good start Greta had problems at controls 7 and 8 and the NZL position dropped to 21st at the finish, continuing a run of relatively poor relay results dating back to Sweden in 2016. At the first changeover Sweden had held a handy lead over Switzerland and Russia of 44 seconds, with hosts Norway another 20 or so seconds further back. On leg 2, however, Simona Aeborsold, reigned in double world champion Tove Alexandersson to give Switzerland a 6 second lead over the Swedes. By the arena passage on leg 3 Karolin Ohlsson and Julia Jakob were together and there they stayed right up until the final control when Ohlsson powered away to give Sweden victory by 4 seconds. Behind these two Natalia Gemperle, starting the leg in 5th behind Norway and the Czech Republic, had hauled these two teams in and was in a battle for the bronze with Norway in the form of Anne Margarethe Hausken Nordberg. Again there was sprint finish with the Russian taking the line with a margin of 6 seconds.
1. Sweden 1:35:49, 2. Switzerland 1:35:53, 3. Russia 1:36:56, 4. Norway 1:37:02, 5, Czech Republic 1:40:31, 6. Finland 1:42:01, 19. Australia 2:07:38, 21. New Zealand 2:14:38 (Lizzie Ingham 34:48, Kate Morrison 43:09, Greta Knarston 56:41)
In the men’s race, with darkness approaching at a 6.30pm start, Tim gave NZL a fabulous start when in a densely packed front of the field he came in 10th only 12 seconds behind the leaders Finland. Gene on leg 2, still feeling the effort from the long, maintained that position through the arena passage but then had trouble on the vague hill tops at 6, 12 and 13 dropping to 21st as he handed over to Toby. Toby had another good run to follow his long distance performance shedding time only at 15, where he dropped beneath the control on the steep hillside, but still picking up 2 places overall to finish 19th. Just as in the women’s race there was drama at the front of the field. After the tight first leg, double gold medallist Olav Lundanes opened up a lead of 39 seconds for Norway over Finland with Austria and Sweden in 3rd and 4th. Norway seemed destined for their 4th consecutive relay gold until Magne Daehli on leg 3 had trouble at the same control 6 as Gene had suffered at, veering north to the wrong hill top and dragging Finland with him. Gustav Bergman made no such mistake and was suddenly clear of the field and taking Sweden to the first relay gold in 5 years. To the dismay of the Norwegian crowd (significantly smaller than on previous days due to the weather) another mistake by Magne a few controls later and Finland and France were in a fight for silver and bronze, with the Finns taking 2nd. Australia were an excellent 15th.
1. Sweden 1:40:42, 2. Finland 1:42:16, 3. France 1:42:25, 4. Czech Republic 1:42:32, 5. Norway 1:42:37, 6. Switzerland 1:43:25, 15. Australia 1:53:25, 19. New Zealand (Tim Robertson 33:06, Gene Beveridge 44:10, Toby Scott 43:09).
So a mixed WOC for the first one of the new format with forest and sprint alternating in odd and even years respectively. On the bright side, having retained Group 2 status, NZL will again have 2 men and 2 women in the long distance in Czech republic in 2021.
JWOC2022(2023?) and IOF Foot-o Commission
The day prior to the start of WOC Malcolm Ingham gave a presentation to the IOF Foot-O commission on the New Zealand bid for JWOC2022. Malcolm attempted to clarify some the issues raised in the initial feedback that was received in April, and pointed out some the contstraints that are imposed by the requirement to hold JWOC between mid-June and early August. The presentation was well received and it was somewhat of a disappointment to read on the IOF website that JWOC2022 had been awarded to Romania, without NZL being given any prior notification. (Note: an apology for this lack of notification has since been received.)
The, mainly, verbal feedback that has now come, suggests that Romania was probably successful largely because they had bid unsuccessfully for JWOC2021. The implication has also been made that should New Zealand reapply for 2023 we are highly likely to be successful. That is a decision that will need to be carefully considered by ONZ Council as there are issues, mainly associated with local costs (including accreditation and entry fees) and the provision of live tracking, which probably need some attention.
Other issues of potential interest from the Foot-O commission meeting included a discussion on the number of entrants per nation per race for sprint WOC in Denmark in 2020. There has been a suggestion that this might be increased from 3 to 4 but this has now been deferred and the status quo of 3 remains, although it seems that regional sprint champions (i.e. in our case winners of the elite grades at the Oceania sprint) will have personal places.
2020 International Calendar
It may seem a little early to start thinking about 2020 international events but there are some interesting sequences of events which those considering JWOC, WOC, WUOC and World Cups may like to ponder.
19-22 June: European Youth Championships (M/W18, M/W16) Hungary
28 June-5 July: JWOC Turkey
7-11 July: WOC (sprint) Denmark
14-18 July: World University Championships Russia
Although the timing of EYOC may provide a good lead into JWOC for any younger members of the JWOC team, the proximity of JWOC to WOC means that competing in both of these is likely not to be feasible. Similarly, WUOC – which in 2020 will be the only event to have all races: sprint, sprint relay, middle, long, relay – may be difficult for anyone of university age thinking of sprint WOC. From a NZL point of view there is an intention to give prominence in 2020 to WUOC which, certainly at the top of the field, has a higher level than JWOC.
The World Cup in 2020 will have only 3 rounds. These will be as follows.
21-24 May: Switzerland (Long, KO Sprint, Sprint)
19-23 August: Latvia (European Championships –Middle, Long, Relay)
1-4 October (prov): Italy (Long, Middle, Relay)
Note that with the split of WOC into forest and sprint in alternate years EOC has also split so that
the relevant disciplines are in the year immediately before they appear at WOC. This is something that Australia and New Zealand perhaps need to consider with respect to the Oceania Champs. At present things look like this:
Oceania: (AUS) October 2019 Next WOC: Sprint 2020
Oceania: (NZL) January 2021 Next WOC: Forest 2021
Oceania: (AUS) October 2022 Next WOC: Forest 2023
What this potentially means is that the sprint winners at Oceania 2019 will get a personal entry to sprint WOC in 2020, but both the forest and sprint winners in 2021 will get entries to the respective forest and sprint WOCs in 2021 and 2022.
Congratulations to Imogene Scott who took 3rd place in the Dun Mountain Run on Saurday 312 August. Immie’s time was 2:16:44 which was fastest in the Open Women but beaten by the first two placegetters in W40-49. Thanks to Gene for the photo.