Thursday, June 20, 2013

EMTBOC 2013: Marika Hara, queen of Sprint

Shattering. It was in this way that Marika Hara attacked the Sprint race of the European MTB orienteering Championships, crushing their rivals and leaving clear the intention of returning quickly to the world ranking's leadership.

After the cancellation, last Monday, of the W21 Class' Sprint race of the European MTB orienteering Championships 2013, the “rest day” saw the athletes back to the forest to fight for the third title of these event. In a very fast race and without too many route choices, the Finnish Marika Hara proved to be in spetacular shape by imposing a demolishing rate and eventually meet the 5.8 km of his course in 25:23. Taking the control of the race almost from the beginning, Marika Hara was unstoppable specially in the second half of the race, where she won six of the eight split times. A clear victory that is mostly a prize for the athlete who would have more to lose by repeating this race, once she already has been the best time last Monday. And the second gold in a row, after the European title in 2011 (Leningrad, Russia).

In the immediate positions was possible to watch an intense dispute between four major world-class athletes. The Swedish Cecilia Thomasson had a very strong start, still got to roll on the podium for much of the race but a larger error at control 11 would eventually proved to be fatal, causing her to fall to the fifth position in the end with a record of 28:53. Emily Benham (Great Britain), the major figure of the Middle Distance race last Tuesday, was also on a great level, winning quickly one minute to the Finnish Ingrid Stengard, caughting after the third control. But a bad option for the control 8 would eventually tear up the aspirations of the British, causing it to lose a minute and, consequently, a medal seemed easily to reach. In the end, Emily Benham would register 28:29, and 3:06 behind the winner.

Titanic struggle for 2nd place

Ingrid Stengard and Ursina Jäggi (Switzerland) catch a particular duel especially in the last four points of the course, afetr Stengard recovering from a disadvantage for her opponent that reached 34 seconds, to put just a second at the "200" (that in this case, casually, was the "46") and arriving at the Finish with a record of 27:49 against 27:47 to the Swiss athlete. The Russian Ksenia Chernykh had a tremendous setback in control 7, where she lost more than six minutes, ending it by quitting. As for Anna Kaminska, the "Athlete of the house" in which the Poles expected on a podium at the end (she achieved the bronze in the Sprint of the last World Championships in Hungary, after being World Champion in 2010, in Portugal), had an unfortunate entry in the map, losing nearly five minutes in the second point, early ending to dream with a medal.

Tomorrow the great competition returns with the Long Distance titles in dispute. Everything to follow at

Joaquim Margarido

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