“The Sprint is the only individual race I’m doing, so that will of course get a lot of focus. My physical shape is good and I think I have a good chance to make a top result.” Reading Søren Bobach's Interview to Erik Borg and published in the International Orienteering Federation's webpage, under the title “Athlete of the Month”, we can realize how the Danish athlete took seriously his goals. He was the unexpected winner of the Men's Sprint Final, in the hot afternoon of Venice, which ended the first day of competition of the XXXI World Orienteering Championship WOC 2014.
Just over five minutes later on the arrival of the last female athlete, started the Men's Sprint Final of the XXXI World Orienteering Championship WOC 2014. A final which took also place at the east waterfront of the beautiful city of Venice, between the Arsenal and Giardini della Biennale and was marked by a "thriller" that would last for long twenty-six minutes until to realize that nothing and nobody could ever steal to Søren Bobach his first world title. Unlike the women's final, the men's course saw the first note of sensation arise very early, with the Danish being the 17th athlete to complete his course of 4.5 km (20 controls), achieving then the fantastic time of 15:37,2 and that gave him the lead by a wide margin. All this in a moment when the Portuguese Tiago Romão and Tiago Gingão Leal Leal had fulfilled their courses with the times and 19:09,1 and 18:03,4, respectively, that would shoot them, along with the Hungarian Mate Kerenyi and the French Frederic Tranchand (this one by 'mp'), to the end of the classification.
With all athletes now in competition - Yannick Michiels would be the last to start - the time flowed and no major changes were felt. Along with his compatriot Tue Lassen, with four seconds more, Søren Bobach stubbornly remained stoically in the lead, while the intermediate passage times showed how the Czech Prochazka, the Belgian Michiels, the French Tranchand, the Swedish Lysell and Regborn, the British Kristian Jones and the current European champion, the Swedish Jonas Leandersson - all athletes with remarkable performances in the qualifying heats -, would be delayed. The unknown as the winner remained and only the Swiss Daniel Hubmann seemed able to break the record of the Danish and get the win after showing a partial advantage of 5 seconds for the last 500 meters.
The final moments were absolutely dramatic. And if the option to the 11th control gave some advantage to Hubmann, annulled in control 15 by Bobach and recovered soon after, the true is that the option to the 19th control proved to be fatal to the Swiss athlete. One option that would involve to run ingloriously almost 50 meters more than his opponent and, with it, the expense of precious seconds. A victory that slipped through his fingers and, if confirmed, would give to the Swiss his second world title of Sprint after the victory achieved in France in 2011. Hubmann turned out to be the second placed, at 0:02,1 to the winner, meddling on the podium between the two athletes of Denmark, Bobach and Lassen.
1. Søren Bobach (Denmark) 15:37,2
2. Daniel Hubmann (Switzerland) 15:39,3 (+ 0:02,1)
3. Tue Lassen (Denmark) 15:41,4 (+ 0:04,2)
4. Jerker Lysell (Sweden) 15:48,1 (+ 0:10,9)
5. Matthias Kyburz (Switzerland) 15:52,4 (+ 0:15,2)
6. Jonas Leandersson (Sweden) 15:58,0 (+ 0:20,8)
7. Yannick Michiels (Belgium) 16:04,7 (+ 0:27,5)
8. Jan Prochazka (Czech Republic) 16:08,0 (+ 0:30,8)
9. Jonas Vytautas Gvildys (Lithuania) 16:09,4 (+ 0:32,2)
10. Martin Hubmann (Switzerland) 16:10,7 (+ 0:33,5)
42. Tiago Gingão Leal (Portugal) 18:03,4 (+ 2:26,2)
44. Tiago Romão (Portugal) 19:09,1 (+ 3:31,9)
Full results and other information at http://www.woc2014.info/woc.php.
[Photo: © Jan Kocbach / www.worldofo.com]