July is the traditionally busy month in world orienteering although this year the later date for WOC has made things a little less congested. Nervertheless, JWOC, WMTBOC, O-Ringen and World Rogaine Champs have all fallen within it. Having been in east of Canada for when JWOC was on I found it quite hard to follow (hence the lack of updates on the ONZ website) but, hopefully, this is rectified below. There are also brief reports on the sizeable Kiwi presence at O-Ringen, and the World Rogaining Championships, and on those currently taking part in the World MTBO Championships and the Scottish 6-days.
JWOC2019 saw a New Zealand team with a wide range both of experience and age, f om Katie Cory-Wright, at her last JWOC, to Kaia Joergensen, at her first as one of the youngest representative NZL has ever had. Of the others, Kurtis Shuker, Stephen Harding, Georgia Skelton and Tegan Knightbridge were also first-timers, although Tegan had run at the 2018 World University Championships, while Daniel Monckton, Joseph Lynch, Max Griffiths, Will Tidswell, Marisol Hunter and Briana Steven were all making their second appearance. With such a relatively inexperienced team at this level it was never going to be an easy year, notwithstanding the semi-official target of everyone aiming for the top half of the field in at least one of the individual races.
First-up was the sprint, taking in essentially 2 laps of an area of Lyseng on the southern edge of Aarhus. For the men this in fact proved to be the most successful race with Kurtis, Daniel Monckton and Joseph Lynch all finishing well within the top half, although none of them could admit to a clean run. Joseph, after his wonderful 15th place in 2018 was perhaps the most disappointed after some early hesitations cost him time. Kaia was best of the women, just squeaking into the top half of the field. In the men’s race the southern hemisphere did take the honours as Aston Key, at the start of what was to be a phenomenal week for him, produced a great run to take the gold for Australia. Equally impressive were the British women, who were also to star all week, with Grave Molloy taking 3rd, and Fiona Bunn also making the top 10.
Women: 1. Eline Gemperle (SUI) 12:18, 2. Tilde Ostberg (SWE) 12:21, 3. Grace Molloy (GBR) 12:32, 78. Kaia Joergensen (NZL) 14:47, 79. Briana Steven (NZL) 14:49, 92. Katie Cory-Wright (NZL) 15:10, 94. Georgia Skelton (NZL) 15:21, 111. Marisol Hunter (NZL) 15:44, 128. Tegan Knightbridge (NZL) 17:39.
Men: 1. Aston Key (AUS) 12:20, 2. Samuel Pihlstrom (SWE) 12:33, 3. Guilhem Elias (FRA) 12:34, 39. Kurtis Shuker (NZL) 13:31, 54. Daniel Monckton (NZL) 13:41, 56. Joseph Lynch (NZL) 13:42, 86. Max Griffiths (NZL) 14:18, 100. Stephen Harding (NZL) 14:39, 116. Will Tidswell (NZL) 15:08.
The gulley-spur terrain of the long distance provided a mountain of route choice to both the men and women, with the straight route generally also requiring a mountain of climb. The complex and mixed vegetation towards the end of the course then challenged tiring legs. Of the Kiwis only Joseph and Katie looked comfortable in the terrain with Joseph, despite early mistakes again holding him back, finishing 41st. Katie, just over 10 minutes back from the Finnish winner, was 54th, while Briana Steven also produced a good result a little further back.
Men’s winner was Kasper Fosser of Norway, who retained his title from 2018. Aston Key took his second medal with a bronze. In the women’s race Ida Haapala of Finland appeared to have won by a single second from Russia’s Veronika Kalinina. However, Veronika’s SI Air card failed during the race causing her not only to have to manually punch each control, but also meaning that her final time was recorded manually. Following a protest from Russia the decision was taken that, as the manual timing could not be guaranteed to be accurate to 1 second, joint gold medals wopuld be awarded.
Women: 1=. Ida Haapala (FIN) 53:46, 1=. Veronika Kalinina (RIUS) 53:46, 3. Grace Molloy 54:17, 54. Katie Cory-Wright 1:04:44, 69. Briana Steven 1:07:28, 85. Georgia Skelton 1:12:14, 100. Marisol Hunter 1:17:47, 105. Kaia Joergensen 1:18:39, 109. Tegan Knightbridge 1:19:27.
Men: 1. Kasper Fosser (NOR) 1:02:19, 2. Elias Jonsson (NOR) 1:05:28, 3. Aston Key 1:07:49, 41. Joseph Lynch 1:16:56, 84. Will Tidswell 1:24:39, 92. Kurtis Shuker 1:25:39, 95. Daniel Monckton 1:26:20, 96. Stephen Harding 1:26:51, 118. Max Griffiths 1:33:22.
Qualification for the middle distance followed a familiar pattern for team NZL – qualification for the final for the second year in a row for Joseph and Katie, albeit by the skin of his teeth for Joseph, with the addition of Will after a solid run in Heat 2. On the other side of the coin there were near misses for both Kurtis and Daniel, the latter missing out by only 7 seconds.
Women Heat 1: 1. Fiona Bunn (GBR) 24:56, 2. Teele Telgma (EST) 25:05, 3. Grace Molloy 25:18, 29. Marisol Hunter 32:45, 38. Georgia Skelton 36:16.
Women Heat 2: 1. Tereza Janosikova (CZE) 22:47, 2. Agnes Kracht (DEN) 23:29, 3. Elena Pezzati (SUI) 24:09, 24. Briana Steven 29:54, 42. Kaia Joergensen 40:19.
Women Heat 3: 1. Barbora Chloupska (CZE) 24:31, 2. Ida Oebro (DEN) 25:18, 3. Tilda Ostberg 26:37, 15. Katie Cory-Wright 28:34, 40. Tegan Knightbridge 38:04.
Men Heat 1: 1. Kasper Fosser 21:59, 2. Guilhem Elias 22:38, 3. Aaro Aho (FIN) 2:58, 19. Joseph Lynch 26:23, 26. Kurtis Shuker 26:52.
Men Heat 2: 1. Aston Key 21:42, 2. Andreas Bock Bjoernsen (DEN) 22:25, 3. Jorgen Baklid (SWE) 22:49, 16. Will Tidswell 25:23, 34. Max Griffiths 27:39.
Men Heat 3: 1. Soren Thrane Odum (DEN) 23:09, 2. Tomas Krivda (CZE) 24:18, 3. Tino Polsini (SUI) 24:27, 23. Daniel Monckton 27:12, 41. Stephen Harding 30:30.
In the following day’s final Katie was the top performer finishing 43rd, one place lower than her result from 2018 in Hungary. Joseph’s 49th pace was again highly respectable, Will, 3 minutes slower than Joseph was another 8 places behind. All of the Kiwis, however, made mistakes, many apparently related either to gauging and keeping the correct height while contouring the steep slopes, or misreading the flatter spurs and hill tops.
Women: 1. Isa Envall (SWE) 29:59, 2. Fiona Bunn 30:53, 3. Tereza Janosikova 31:23, 43. Katie Cory-Wright 37:38.
Men: 1. Kasper Fosser 25:03, 2. Guilhem Elias 26:12, 3. Lukas Liland (NOR) 26:37, 49. Joseph Lynch 33:58, 57. Will Tidswell 36:54.
The relay proved to be a relatively dismal day for New Zealand with both women’s teams mis-punching on the first leg. The highlight was a wonderful run by Joseph on the first leg, coming in 7th just behind the leaders, but sadly not a position that the team was able to hold, fading to 34th, and being shaded by the second Kiwi team in 31st place. On the bright side these placings were an improvement on 2018 where one of the men’s teams also mis-punched and the other was well back in the field. However, there does seem to be an indication that more high intensity relay training is required! At the top of the field Great Britain were a surprise women’s winner with an 18 second margin to Russia.
Women: 1. Great Britain 1 1:34:35, 2. Russia 1 1:34:53, 3. Sweden 2 1:35:28, New Zealand 1 (Briana Steven, Marsol Hunter, Katie Cory-Wright) mp, New Zealand 2 (Georgia Skelton, Tegan Knightbridge, Kaia Joergensen) mp.
Men: 1. Norway 1 1:30:52, 2. Sweden 2 1:33:01, 3. France 1 1:34:15, 31. New Zealand 2 (Kurtis Shujer, Max Griffiths, Stephen Harding) 1:50:26, 34. New Zealand 1 (Joseph Lynch, Daniel Monckton, Will Tidswell) 1:52:07.
So another JWOC is over and, in time, more detailed analysis will hopefully provide some insights into where we need to make improvements.
O-Ringen and Scottish 6-day – preparing for WOC and MTBWOC
O-Ringen 2019 saw one of the largest New Zealand contingents ever with several athletes present as preparation for either foot or mountain-bike World Championships, as well as a healthy representation throughout the age grades. At the WOC end of things Gene Beveridge was the sole Kiwi representative in men’s elite, while Kate Morrison, slated to run the middle and relay at WOC chose the more appropriate length W21 course. There were also one-off appearances by Tim Robertson and Tommy Hayes in the day 3 sprint, as well as a post-JWOC presence in the form of Max Griffiths, Daniel Monckton and Kurtis Shuker in M20E. Tessa Burns and Jess Sewell, who both just missed out on JWOC, were in W18E. Without detailing the entire results (https://resultat.oringen.se/2019) Gene ended up 51st overall in M21E, and Kate 18th in W21 where she was ahead of Renee Beveridge in 49th. Pride of place, though, went to Tim who in his sole race took 3rd place in the sprint, earning himself some useful pocket money. Despite the absence, given the proximity to WOC itself, of many of the top elites, the burning question at the end of the week is still whether anyone at WOC can seriously challenge Tove Alexandersson, who won on all 5-days and had a final margin of over 33 minutes to second place!
Day 3 Sprint: 1. Emil Svensk 15:10, 2. Ruslan Glebov 15:25, 3. Tim Robertson 15:29, 46. Gene Beveridge 17:14, 54. Tommy Hayes 17:28.
Those going on to the World MTBO Champs included Georgia Skelton, Tegan Knightbridge, Tommy Hayes, Devon Beckman and Marquite Gelderman, although with the two events almost overlapping none of these rode a full series of O-Ringen races.
Following hard on the heels of O-Ringen is the Scottish 6-days. A much lower-key event than the Swedish one, this is currently being used as a final WOC warm-up by both Toby Scott and Lizzie Ingham. At the time of writing, after the first 3 days, Toby sits 3rd overall in M21E after a 2nd and two 8th places, while Lizzie leads W21E after a 4th on day 1, a win on day 2, and 2nd place in the day 3 WRE.
Prior to these two events there was something of a NZL pre-WOC training camp with Lizzie joined by Greta Knarston and Ellie Molloy for a week of training based at the Bengtsson holiday house which was used also a base for team NZL just before WOC2016. The Kiwis were joined by the Wellington Irish contingent of Ruari and Conor Short, both vying for places in the Irish team for WOC.
World Rogaine Championships 2019 – Pyrenees
The 2019 World Rogaine Championships have just concluded in the Pyrenees with around 20 or so Kiwis in the field. Prime result was by Tane Cambridge and Tim Farrant who finished 2nd in Mens Open by a mere 5 points after 24 hours of hard racing. As Tane put it on Facebook: “Happy to be heading back to NZ tomorrow with a 2nd place from the 2019 World Rogaine Champs in Catalunya. We pretty much had the race of our lives – a good plan, ran well, navigated well and played it as strategically as we could. That top spot eludedus by about 1.5% of our score, a very close margin! “.
Taking place at altitudes between 1300 and 2500 m, with 60% of the area forested, the terrain was exceedingly demanding. To compound this, despite the blue sky in the presentation photo above, the event started in rain and mist. Other New Zealand competitors included Australian resident Ted van Geldermalsen who with his Aussie team mate finished 2nd in the M65 class.
World MTBO Championships – Denmark
New Zealand hopes were high going into the World MTBO Champs in Denmark with Tim Robertson, after his medal successes at Junior level 5 years ago, riding in the Senior Men, and Georgia Skelton fresh from JWOC and O-Ringen hoping to repeat her performances in the W20 class which saw her on the podium in 2018. In M21 Tim was joined by Tommy Hayes, Devon Beckman and Conal Boland-Bristow, while Georgia has Tegan Knightbridge for company in W20.
The first-up sprint proved a case of what might have been for Tim. Despite riding the fastest time he inadvertently omitted control 7, with a cut circle on the direct line between 6 and 8. His unfortunate mis-punch left Devon as the top Kiwi in 28th place with Conal in 62nd. Tommy, like Tim, mis-punched. In W20 Georgia was back on the podium with an excellent 5th place and only 21 seconds from bronze
M21: 1. Grigory Medevdev (RUS) 22:27, 2. Anton Foliforov (RUS) 22:28, 3. Yuann Courtoir (FRA) 22:38, 28. Devon Beckman (NZL) 24:48, 62. Conal Boland-Bristow (NZL) 29:46, Tim Robertson (NZL) mp, Tommy Hayes (NZL) mp.
W20: 1. Lilou Pauly (FRA) 15:40, 2. Nikoline Splitteroff (DEN) 15:00, 3. Kaarina Nurminen (FIN) 15:19, 5. Georgia Skelton (NZL) 15:40, 24. Tegan Knightbridge (NZL) 18:05.
Tim’s misfortuntunes continued into the middle distance on day 2, where a major puncture not long after the start left him with no option but to dnf. His comment, showed a certain amount of wry humour: “A sidewall puncture after 8 minutes of racing unfortunately cut my day short. Disappointed not to be able to complete the rest of what looked like a fun course.
Hoping my luck will change soon, or maybe the World just doesn’t want me to be a mtb orienteer!” This left Tommy as the top Kiwi in M21 finishing in 56th, 3 places ahead of Devon. In W20 Georgia could not repeat her podium finish but still came in a highly respectable 11th, with Tegan another 10 minutes back.
M21: 1. Vojtech Ludvik (CZE) 53:59, 2. Anton Foliforov 54:43, 3. Grigory Medevdev 54;50, 56. Tommy Hayes 1:12:01, 59. Devon Beckman 1:14:21, Conal Boland-Bristow mp, Tim Robertson dnf.
W20: 1. Nikoline Splitteroff 45:26, 2. Vilma Kralova (CZE) 47:28, 3. Kaarina Nurminen 48:12, 11. Georgia Skelton 53;34, 28. Tegan Knightbridge 1:03:39.
As I write this the long distance is under way. (Now the following morning: Tim 24th, Tommy 62nd, Devon 64th, Conal 73rd; Tegan 27th, Georgia mp)
World Cup Rounds 3 and 4
New Zealand will have representation at both of the final two rounds of the 2019 IOF World Cup. Round 3, in Switzerland, which clashes with the first weekend of the Oceania Carnival, consists of a middle distance, a knock-out sprint, and a sprint and will be contested by Tim Robertson and sister Laura.
A month later, and clashing with our own Labour Weekend, the final round in China has a middle distance, a sprint and a sprint relay. NZL will have a team of 6 – Devon Beckman, Tommy Hayes, Tim Robertson, Lizzie Ingham, Laura Robertson and Alice Tilley. Given the team size and potential difficulties of travelling and competing in China, John and Anna Robertson will travel as managers.
People and places
It was a pleasant surprise after the last HP News to receive an email from John Rix, now back in the UK for many years, saying how much he enjoyed being able to keep up with what was going on in New Zealand orienteering. For the younger among you who will not know John, he was a teacher at Kings College in the late 1970s early 1980s and was highly instrumental in getting the likes of Alistair Landels and Rob Jessop into the sport. He represented NZL at several WOC’s in the 1980’s achieving a highest placing of 50th in Australia in 1985, in the days when WOC consisted only of a long distance and a relay.
Also of note (see the comment above on WOC preparations) is that, for the first time ever, Wellington OC will have 3 representatives at WOC as Ruari and Conor Short have been confirmed in the Irish team for Norway. Ruari will run all three races middle, long and relay,