Saturday, July 12, 2014

WOC 2014: Switzerland win Women Relay and close World Champs with golden key

Switzerland revalidated today the world title in Women Relay, closing the best way the participation in the 31st World Orienteering Championship WOC 2014. Without Simone Niggli yet, the Swiss performed at the best level in these World Championships, returning home with three gold medals and one bronze in the luggage. Judith Wyder confirms the title of biggest star of the Championships.

Closing a week of strong emotions, sensational results, great atmosphere and, of course, some disappointments also, the 31st World Orienteering Championships WOC 2014 turned its final page today. Returning to Campomulo and the terrains of Middle Distance, the Women Relay is quoted as one of the most exciting in the history of the World, with the unpredictability regarding the winner keeping up until the last moments.

Starting stronger than all opponents, the Norwegian Heidi Bagstevold made a bad rouce choice for the 11th control and, with half of the first leg acomplished, Switzerland was in the lead by Sara Luescher. Sweden, Denmark and Latvia, with Helena Jansson, Emma Klingenberg and Aija Skrastina, respectively, followed on the immediate positions. Bagstevold continues to experience great difficulty in the final of the first leg and see her team mate Tone Wygemir start for the second leg in 5th position, 1:44 behind the leadership. Sara Luescher is the first to arrive, with a time of 36:05, having behind her Emma Klingenberg, with 31 more seconds, and Helena Jansson ex-aequo with the sensational Aija Skrastina, at 37 seconds.

Judith Wyder, of course

With Nadiya Volynska, Saila Kinni, Lizzie Ingham and Irina Nyberg now in action, Ukraine, Finland, New Zealand and Russia aspire to do something good in the intermediate leg, but for now, in the head of the course, only the Latvian Inga Dambe yields. But mistakes are succeeding - Switzerland to the tricky 6th control, Denmark and Norway after passing through the Arena - which allows to Sweden, by the World Champion in Long Distance, the amazing Annika Billstam, to take the leadership, although with Danish Ida Bobach very close. With 1:11:30, Billstam reaches the end of the second leg, while Bobach responds with 1:11:41. Sabine Hauswirth puts Switzerland in 3rd position with a disadvantage of 2:17 relative to the front duo. Norway with 1:16:25, Latvia with 1:17:57 and Finland with 1:19:29 are in the immediate positions.

Judith Wyder there's no “impossible missions” is now in the fight and Switzerland, soon arrives to the fight for gold. With a dazzling entry in the map, the bi-World Champion - Sprint and Mixed Sprint Relay - can quickly undo the difference to her opponents, assuming the leadership at the 5th control.An error in the next control, however, allows Denmark to take the lead, which preserves until the passage by Arena, 33 seconds ahead of Sweden and one minute on Switzerland, The attack on the 10th control, however, is done in the worst way by Maja Alm Moller and the struggle for gold Medal is now completely open, with Wyder, Alexandersson and Alm passing togehther when we enter in the long leg on the way to 1th control, the decisive one.

Betting in a different choice than her opponents, Maja Alm risks everything but without seeing his attempt successfully crowned. Tove Alexandersson starts to fall and, with three control for the end of the course the fight for gold is now between Denmark and Switzerland. In the end, Judith Wyder turn to be the strongest and Switzerland collect the third gold medal in these World Campionships with a time of 1:51:21. Denmark and Sweden, in the immediate position, close the podium, respectively at 0:11 and 2:35 from Switzerland and with two interesting particularities: Denmark arrives for the second time in history to the World podium of a Women Relay, after bronze medal achieved by Mette Filskov, Hanne Birke, Karin Jexner and Dorthe Hansen 31 years ago (!); on the other hand, Sweden regains its place on the world podium of Women Relay, where it had just come out once in 30 editions of the Championships, precisely in 2013.


1. Switzerland 1:51:21
2. Denmark 1:51:32 (+ 00:11)
3. Sweden 1:53:56 (+ 02:35)
4. Norway 1:55:45 (+ 04:24)
5. Finland 1:59:03 (+ 07:42)
6. Great Britain 2:06:31 (+ 15:10)
7. Lithuania 2:07:04 (+ 15:43)
8. Ukraine 2:08:32 (+ 17:11)
9. 2:08:34 Czech Republic (+ 17:13)
10. France 2:10:42 (+ 19:21)
24. Portugal 2:34:49 (+ 43:28)

Results and other information

[Photo: Jan Kocbach / / WorldofOLive /]

Joaquim Margarido

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