New Zealand junior orienteers shone on the world stage, despite not having the slow ease into international summer orienteering. They arrived straight from the winter climes with only a short time to adjust to hot summer temperatures in Romania. Despite this, the performances have made us proud. The five events consisted of an urban sprint, sprint relay in Baia Mare, then into the Romanian forest in Cavnic for the middle, long classic event and the thrilling forest relay as the final event.
The New Zealand juniors achieved two podium finishes with Penelope Salmon in 6th place in the sprint and Zefa Fa’avae in 5th place for the long event – which is NZ’s best ever placing in a long event. And if it wasn’t for a disqualification on a technological error, there might have been three times to get onto the JWOC podium stage. Nevertheless NZ finished on a high with two top ten results in the forest relay.
The first event of the Junior World Orienteering Champs was the Sprint, and Penelope Salmon and Nathan Borton were top Kiwi performers. Pride of place went to Penelope, as she has become the third New Zealand woman to make a JWOC podium, finishing in 6th place. The top place by an NZ women is still Tanya Larson (née Robinson) who placed 5th in the short/middle in 1992 in Finland. Penelope was 50 seconds behind Hungarian winner Rita Maramarosi who backed up her EYOC sprint title from 2 weeks ago with another outstanding win. Nathan’s 18th place was the best New Zealand men’s finish since Joseph Lynch’s 15th in 2018.
It was a strong run from Zefa Fa’avae in 35th and an excellent 28th place by Anna Babington, like Nathan, competing at her first JWOC. With 5 of the 6 women figuring in the top half of the field, with the other only just outside, it was by far the best overall sprint performance by New Zealand women at JWOC.
The long distance was favourable for Zefa Fa’avae, who produced the best result New Zealand has had in the JWOC long distance with an amazing 5th place. Zefa was within about 40sec of a bronze placing. His run followed the disappointment of the sprint relay disqualification which was so nearly another podium finish to go with Penelope Salmon’s in the sprint. The top New Zealand women’s placing in the long was Rachel Baker in 48th place, although Kaia Joergensen would have been close to the top 30 had she not inadvertently punched one of the men’s controls by mistake.
In the JWOC forest relay, almost certainly for the first time, both the top NZ men’s and women’s teams have finished in an official top 10. For the men, Felix Hunt gave New Zealand a steady start, handing over to Ryan Moore who had the team in 22nd place as he handed over to Zefa Fa’avae. Zefa continued his fantastic week by running the third fastest time on the last leg, overhauling 13 teams to cross the line in 9th place. With only one team per country to count officially, with both Swiss teams ahead the official place was 8th! NZ team 2, was made up of Nathan Borton, Fergus O’Neill and Riley Croxford and crossed the line in 34th place.
The women’s top team started with another excellent run from Penelope Salmon bringing them into the end of the first leg in 5th position. The good work was continued by Rachel Baker on leg 2. Unfortunately, Kaia Joergensen on the last leg made a mistake and the team, aided by disqualifications for Switzerland 1 and both Swedish teams, finished in 12th place across the line, but 9th position officially as Finland, Norway and Czechia all had 2 teams ahead. In an impressive team performance overall the second Kiwi team of Anna and Katherine Babington and Zara Stewart were 15th across the line.
Overall, very consistent performances all round, this is the best performance New Zealand has ever had in the Junior World Orienteering Champs.
RESULTS (Medal winners & NZ placings):
Men: 1. Anselm Reichenbach (GER) 15:47, 2. Guilhelm Verove (FRA) 15:55, 3. Jurgen Joonas (EST) 15:56,
18=. Nathan Borton (NZL) 16:44, 35. Zefa Fa’avae (NZL) 17:16, 79. Felix Hunt (NZL) 18:10, 103=. Fergus O’Neill (NZL) 18:38, 119. Riley Croxford (NZL) 19:05, 127. Ryan Moore (NZL) 19:15.
Women: 1. Rita Maramarosi (HUN) 15:13, 2. Pia Young Vik (NOR) 15:37, 3. Eeva Liina Ojanaho (FIN) 15:50,
6. Penelope Salmon (NZL) 16:03, 28=. Anna Babington (NZL) 17:12, 41. Kaia Joergensen (NZL) 17:39, 50. Zara Stewart (NZL) 18:04, 68. Rachel Baker (NZL) 18:31, 78=. Katherine Babington 18:56.
Men: 1. Hannes Mogensen (SWE) 24.39, 2. Jakub Chaloupsky (CZE) 25.22, 3. Oscar Jensen (DEN) 25.55 ,
11. Zefa Fa’avae (NZL) 27.54, 42. Felix Hunt (NZL) 30.35, 68. Ryan Moore (NZL) 32.28, 75. Nathan Borton (NZL) 32.59, 95. Riley Croxford (NZL) 34.05, 126. Fergus O’Neill (NZL) 37.28.
Women: 1. Henriette Radzikowski (SUI) 25.42, 2. Lucie Dittrichova (CZE) 25.46, 3. Pia Young Vik (NOR) 25.56,
18. Kaia Joergensen (NZL) 27.42, 62. Rachel Baker (NZL) 33.07, 71. Penelope Salmon (NZL) 34.04, 82. Zara Stewart (NZL) 35.51, 83. Katherine Babington (NZL) 35.52, Anna Babington mp
Men: 1. Jakub Chaloupsky (CZE) 1:11:20, 2. Noel Braun (SWE) 1:14:28, 3. Pascal Scherer (SUI) 1:15:12, 4. Matthieu Buehrer (SUI) 1:15:50, 5. Zefa Fa’avae 1:15:54, 6. Stanislaw Pachnik (POL) 1:18:42, 57. Felix Hunt 1:31:36, 105, Fergus O’Neill 1:41:11, 132. Riley Croxford 1:57:12, 133. Ryan Moore 1:59:53, 138. Nathan Borton 2:06:36.
Women: 1. Lucie Dittrichova (CZE) 57:28, 2. Henriette Radzikowski (SUI) 57:29, 3. Pia Young Vik (NOR) 58:33, 4. Mathea Gloeersen (NOR) 58:44, 5. Eeva Liina Ojahano (FIN) 59:22, 6. Hanna Sudoi (POL) 1:01:11, 48. Rachel Baker 1:13:56, 50. Katherine Babington 1:14:57, 63. Anna Babington 1:16:41, 66. Penelope Salmon 1:17:02, 84. Zara Stewart 1:23:12, Kaia Joergensen mp.
FOREST RELAY RESULTS:
Men: 1. Czechia team 1 1:34:33, 2. Switzerland team 2 1:34:52, 3. Switzerland team 1 1:36:31,
9. New Zealand team 1 1:40:58, 34. New Zealand team 2 2:01:17.
Women: 1. Hungary team 1 1:20:44, 2. Czechia team 1 1:20:45, 3. Norway team 1 1:21:14,
12. New Zealand team 1 1:33:49, 15. New Zealand team 2 1:36:52.
Read ONZ JWOC reports:
• 8 JulyZefa on the podium at JWOC Long