ONZ High Performance News #104 – August 2023
By Malcolm Ingham - Sun 3 Sep 2023 10:19am
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August began with the second round of the IOF World Cup in Czechia. Following on only a couple of weeks after WOC, this saw the best sprint relay result that NZL has ever achieved, another podium finish for Tim Robertson, and some other solid performances. There is now a bit of a gap in the international calendar before the final round in October. Local attention will also now start to focus on the delayed ONZ Championships and, a little further away, the Oceanoia Sprint Championships, for which preparations are in full swing

                                                                                                                                               Malcolm Ingham


World Cup Round 2 – Czechia

As reported elsewhere (https://www.orienteering.org.nz/news/world-cup-2023-czechia-round-2/) the second round of the IOF World Cup produced a very mixed bag of results for the relatively large New Zealand team.

Pride of place goes to the sprint events where Tim Roberston, Laura Robertson and Penelope Salmon, who all had top results in the individual, were joined by Joseph Lynch in a memorable sprint relay. In the individual Tim again made the podium, this time in 6th place 27 seconds down on Ralph Street, perhaps a somewhat surprising British winner. Laura, the top NZL finisher at WOC in 2022, showed that she is in good form with an excellent 17th place, which equalled her best finish ever in WOC/World Cup recorded in Tasmania in 2015. In her 31st placing Penelope  showed that she can transfer her JOWC form to the higher stage. Nathan Borton, in his first World Cup outing will learn from the experience of what is required at this level.

Men: 1. Ralph Street (GBR) 14:30, 2. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 14:44, 3. Yannick Michiels (BEL) 14:45, 6. Tim Robertson 14:57, 90. Joseph Lynch 16:51, 111. Nathan Borton 17:50.

Women:  1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 14:19, 2. Natalia Gemperle (SUI) 14:54, 3. Sara Hagstrom (SWE) 15:03, 17. Laura Robertson 15:43, 31. Penelope Salmon 16:03, 113. Briana Steven 20:06.

Following the sprint, after several occasions over the years when the possibilities have not eventuated, the sprint relay produced the best New Zealand performance ever at this level. Previously this was a 12th place at WOC in Scotland in 2015 (Lizzie Ingham, Tim, Gene Beveridge, and Laura). Although the team of Penelope, Joseph Lynch, Tim and Laura crossed the line in 12th position, a disqualification and the discounting of several “2nd” teams from several countries (and in the case of Sweden a 3rd team!) saw the official result as 7th. Both Penelope and Tim ran the 4th fastest times on their legs.

1. Switzerland 1:06:32, 2. Czechia 1:07:47, 3. Sweden 1:07:54, 7. New Zealand 1:09:43.

After the sprints World Cup 2 moved to the intricate sandstone terrain seen at WOC2021. In the middle distance both Joseph Lynch and Matt Ogden made the top 40. For Joseph, like Nathan in his first World Cup, his 37th place will have made up to a certain extent for his disappointment at WOC where illness prevented him from showing his true ability. Matt was 14 seconds and 3 places back. The other New Zealand men, Tim and Toby Scott were further behind in a race won by Jannis Bonek of Austria, showing that his 3rd place at WOC was no fluke. The three Kiwi women were also well back in the field as Tove Alexandersson took another win.

The men’s middle distance from World Cup 2 in Czechia.

Men: 1. Jannis Bonek (AUS) 37:04, 2. Albin Ridefelt (SWE) 37:41, 3. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 37:47, 37. Joseph Lynch 42:45, 40. Matt Ogden 42:59, 57. Tim Robertson 44:29, 74. Toby Scott 46:33.

Women: 1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 34:19, 2. Simona Aebersold (SUI) 35:26, 3. Sanna Fast (SWE) 35:50, 92. Laura Robertson 55:38, 94. Penelope Salmon 56:30, 110. Briana Steven 1:04:55.

The long distance was, by all reports, a trial of both endurance and technicality amid the steep sandstone rocks. Tim, Toby and Joseph were clustered around the top 50, while Matt, possibly in his last outing at this level, was out for just over 2 hours. Laura, in her first long distance for some years was 84th, with Briana Steven, like Matt, over the 3 hour mark. Men’s world champion Kasper Harlem Fosser took the men’s race, while Tove Alexandersson completed the hat-trick.

Men: 1. Kasper Harlem Fosser (NOR) 1:36:28, 2. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 1:37:44, 3. Gustav Bergman (SWE) 1:42:32, 48. Tim Robertson 1:54:38, 51. Toby Scott 1:55:23, 53. Joseph Lynch 1:55:59, 84. Matt Ogden 2:02:39.

Women: 1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 1:17:36, 2. Simona Aebersold (SUI) 1:20:15, 3. Sara Hagstrom (SWE) 1:26:47, 84. Laura Robertson 1:56:57, 103. Briana Steven 2:11:59.

It is possibly worth reflecting on  both WOC and this round of the World Cup, which mark to a certain extent, the last forest races at this level until after WOC2024, in terms of likely prospects both for Scotland 2024 and Finland 2025. Although it certainly seems that there is reason to be optimistic about sprint WOC in Scotland, where we stand with respect to the forest races in Finland is much more tenuous. Two years out the potential is there amongst the men, especially in the middle distance, and also taking into account the encouraging JWOC results. However, adapting to the rigours of long distance at top level takes longer and also requires time and exposure, for which there will be limited opportunities. For the women, notwithstanding the progress made at WOC by Amelia Horne and Kaia Joergensen, and Laura’s return to the forest, realistically, behind Lizzie Ingham the depth is relatively thin. How, and if, we can deal with that in the next little while presents a challenge.  

Oceania Sprint Championships 2024

Entries for the inaugural Oceania Sprint Championships are now open at https://entero.co.nz/evento.php?eventName=oceania-2024. The official Oceania Championship races are a Knock-out Sprint, a Sprint relay and an Individual Sprint, with the former two being in New Plymouth and the last in Auckland. The New Plymouth races from 27-29 January include 4 public races (Lonely Mountain Sprints) and a public sprint relay. The Auckland Triple Crown series the following weekend features 3 public races.

The KO Sprint will follow the official IOF format with three parallel qualifying heats for both men and women with winning times of 8-10 minutes and the top 12 in each heat (a total of 36) qualifying for the knock-out rounds. The quarter finals will have 6 mass start heats of 6 athletes each with the top 3 making it through to the semi-finals. There will be three semi-finals for each of men and women, again mass starts of 6 and with only the top 2 progressing to the final. In the event that there are not 3 Oceania athletes in a final there will be a B final to ensure that there are 1st, 2nd and 3rd Oceania places. All the knock-out races have winning times of 6-8 minutes, and all the normal methods of forking may be used.

The official Oceania Sprint Relay will have two classes – Open and 18-. Teams are of 2 men and 2 women with the proscribed running order of woman-man-man-woman. It is likely that New Zealand will formally select at least 2 or 3 teams in each class. A selection notice will be posted in due course.

Although the official IOF classes for the Individual Sprint are only M/W16-, M/W18-. M/W20- and M/W21E, those for which IOF provide medals, all the other classes in 5 year age grades will also be offered.

ONZ Champs 2023

Also, a little closer, on the horizon are the ONZ Champs in Hawke’s Bay. With only a 3-day long weekend the sprint will be held on Friday afternoon 20 October on the Splash Planet map used for the NZSS Champs a few years ago. As well as being the last race in this year’s NSL it will also be a World Ranking Event. The middle on the following day is also a WRE and will be among the gums at Mangatarata near Waipukurau. The long and relay on Sunday and Monday are both on a new area, Tua Nui, north-west of Hastings off the Napier-Taihape Road. Entries close at the end of September at https://entero.co.nz/evento.php?eventName=NZOC2023.

Under 23 HP Camp 2023

The Under 23 HP Camp is aimed at athletes in the 17-23 age range who have serious ambition to represent New Zealand on the international stage (e.g. JWOC, WUOC, WOC) over the next few years. It is designed to help prepare athletes physically, technically and psychologically and involves both physical and technical training as well as evening sessions which both review the days training and include discussion of relevant topics.

The 2023 camp will be based at Woodend Christian Camp, from the afternoon of Thursday 7 December until midday Wednesday 13 December. Those interested in attending are invited to submit applications by Friday 13 October 2023. Numbers will be limited to a maximum of 35.

Applications for the camp are now open and can be made through https://www.orienteering.org.nz/news/u23-camp-applications-now-open/.

National Sprint League

Although, with the delayed ONZ Championships, the current NSL does not finish until Labour Weekend, planning for the 2023/4 version is under way. The present proposal is as follows.

Round 1:          December 9 – Christchurch   Knock-out Sprint

                        December 10 – Christchurch Individual Sprint

Round 2:         January 28 – New Plymouth  Oceania KO Sprint Championships

                        January 29 – New Plymouth  Oceania Sprint Relay Championships

                        February 3 – Auckland           Oceania Sprint Championships

Round 3 (to be confirmed):

                        March 2/3 – Wellington/Hutt Valley  3 or 4 individual sprints

Round 4:         March 29 – Taupo                  ONZ Sprint Championships

Round 1 in Christchurch is very much geared as preparation for the Oceania Sprint Championships. It is on the middle weekend of the Under 23 Camp and all camp attendees will automatically be entered. Entries for others will be open in due course. The KO Sprint will consist of a qualification with men and women running the same course, followed by KO rounds which will feature promotion and  relegation between groups at the end of each race. Again, men and women will run against each other.

Imogene Scott stars in Canadian Trail Champs

As posted by Gene Beveridge, Imogene Scott put in a, literally, marathon effort to place 2nd woman in the Canadian Long Distance (50 mile) trail running Championships held in Squamish, British Columbia. Overall Imogene was an amazing 19th out of 372 finishers in a time of 8:54:31 just over 16 minutes behind the winning woman.

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