Wednesday, July 09, 2014

WOC 2014: Two crowns, the same head



Thierry Gueorgiou renewed today the Long Distance world title and became the first athlete in history to achieve three gold medals at this distance in the World Championships. To the title of "King of Middle Distance", the giant French adds now, also, the title of "King of Long Distance". In the women's class, somewhat surprisingly, Russia's Svetlana Mironova was the big winner, succeeding to the multi-champion from Switzerland, Simone Niggli.


Today was a historic day for the Orienteering and, in particular, for one of its most authentic interpreters, Thierry Gueorgiou. Upon arriving at the Long Distance world title for the third time in his career – formerly, the French athlete had won “at home” in 2011 and then in 2013, in the World Champs in Finland - Tero move away now from a remarkable set of seven major athletes where, not strangely, are included his two biggest rivals of today's course, the Swiss Daniel Hubmann and the Norwegian Olav Lundanes.

Debuting in a new format, with direct entry into the Final according to the position of each Federation in the IOF's ranking, the course - really hard! - was held in Lavarone, in a distance of 16.360 meters, with 33 controls and climb 820 meters. The struggle between Gueorgiou, Hubmann and Lundanes remained throughout the entire course with a short interval of 50 seconds between the three athletes at the spectators controls, close to the end. It was then the turn of Thierry show his strenght and do what he do best: to win! In the end, victory in 1:34:45, against 1:36:12 from Hubmann and 1:37:09 from Lundanes.

Until the 7th position we can find three Swiss athletes - Fabian Hertner (4th), Matthias Kyburz (5th) and Baptiste Rollier (7th) -, while Sweden got one of their athletes in places of honour, with Fredrik Johansson to finish sixth. The Austrian Gernot Kerschbaumer reached, with his eighth place, the best result ever of an athlete of his country at this distance, clearly above the 12th position of Hannes Pacher, reached in 1983 (!). As for the Portuguese, Pedro Nogueira was our best athlete in 59th place with 2:14:47, while Tiago Gingão Leal finished 63rd with a time of 2:20:52, between 84 athletes from 50 countries.


Historical gold for Russia

The women's course saw the European Vice-Champion of Long Distance, the Russian Svetlana Mironova, getting the zenith in a galaxy of stars, including the Swiss Judith Wyder, world champion twice (Sprint and Mixed Sprint Relay) and the Swedish Tove Alexandersson, vice world champion in 2013. Mironova had an exceptional start, eventually lead the race from the beginning until the end, winning with a time of 1:19:44. A sweaty and painful victory, against the fierce opposition of Tove Alexandersson, almost surprising her opponent in the final part of the course, staying at the difference of 31 seconds. A bit irregular in the first half of the course, where she did some minor mistakes, Judith Wyder would finish in a very strong way, keeping the bronze medal with a record of 1:20:34. With this result, Svetlana Mironova reaches a historic feat, offering to the female orienteering of Russia the first gold medal ever, both in the individual distances as in Relay.

In places below the podium, Norway put three athletes - Mari Fasting (4th), the sensational Goril Ronning Sund (5th) and also, in seventh position, Tone Wygemir. The Swedish Annika Billstam finished sixth. On her first year in the major event of the international calendar of Foot orienteering, Vera Alvarez was the only Portuguese representative in the women's Final of Long Distance, alongside to other 68 athletes representing 36 countries. Our athlete would finish in 58th position, covering the 11.000 meters of her course (23 controls, climb 495 metres) in a time of 1:56:45.


Results

Men

1. Thierry Gueorgiou (France) 1:34:45
2. Daniel Hubmann (Switzerland) 1:36:12 (+ 1:27)
3. Olav Lundanes (Norway) 1:37:09 )+ 2:24)
4. Fabian Hertner (Switzerland) 1:38:39 (+ 3:54)
5. Matthias Kyburz (Switzerland) 1:40:12 (+ 5:27)
6. Fredrik Johansson (Sweden) 1:40:16 (+ 5:31)
7. Baptiste Rollier (Switzerland) 1:41:19 (+ 6:34)
8. Gernot Kerschbaumer (Austria) 1:41:40 (+ 6:55)
9. Kiril Nikolov (Bulgaria) 1:41:59 (+ 7:14)
10. Filip Dahlgren (Sweden) 1:42:15 (+ 7:30)
(...)
59. Pedro Nogueira (Portugal) 2:14:47 (+ 40:02)
63. Tiago Gingão Leal (Portugal) 2:20:52 (+ 46:07)

Women

1. Svetlana Mironova (Russia) 1:19:44
2. Tove Alexandersson (Sweden) 1:20:15 (+ 0:31)
3. Judith Wyder (Switzerland) 1:20:34 (+ 0:50)
4. Mari Fasting (Norway) 1:22:06 (+ 2:22)
5. Goril Ronning Sund (Norway) 1:22:38 (+ 2:54)
6. Annika Billstam (Sweden) 1:22:40 (+ 2:56)
7. Tone Wigemyr (Norway) 1:22:41 (+ 2:57)
8. Sarina Jenzer (Switzerland) 1:22:43 (+ 2:59)
9. Sofia Haajanen (Finland) 1:24:29 (+ 4:45)
10. Ida Bobach (Denmark) 1:25:05 (+ 5:21)
(...)
58. Vera Alvarez (Portugal) 1:56:45 (+ 37:01)

Full results and more information at http://www.woc2014.info/woc.php.

[Foto: © Newspower Canon / woc2014.info/woc.php]

Joaquim Margarido

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