Monday, August 24, 2015

WMTBOC 2015: The day after

1. The World MTB Orienteering Championships came to an end and nine countries shared the 24 medals distributed in the Elite classes. With two gold and three silver medals, Russia led the medalist of the Championships. The Czech Republic ranked second, reaching two gold, two silver and two bronze medals and thus ensuring the most robust portion of distinctions. Finland, Italy, France and Austria achieved one gold medal each, with the Finnish medalist to take extra advantage of two silver and one bronze medal. With also a silver medal and one bronze, Italy occupied the fourth position, leaving the fifth place, ex-aequo, to France and Austria. Sweden came in the seventh position with two bronze medals. Estonia and Great Britain completed this list, with a bronze medal each.

2. If we want to extend to the top six the list of athletes awarded with diplomas in the World Championships, we'll start by saying that were in number of 41 the athletes in these conditions, representing 11 nations. With four medals achieved, the Czech Martina Tichovska was the most valuable athlete of the Championships. The Finnish Jussi Laurila and the French Gaëlle Barlet also returned home with four diplomas, but in the case of Laurila two of them corresponded to two fifth places while Barlet had a diploma because of a fifth place and two diplomas corresponding to the fourth place. The Russian Anton Foliforov, the Italian Luca Dallavalle, the Czech Marek Pospisek, the British Emily Benham, the Finnish Susanna Laurila and Marika Hara and the Danish Camilla Soegaard reached three diplomas each, but it's important to say that the diplomas of Foliforov and Dallavalle represent as many medals.

3. Individually, it must be recognized in the Czech Martina Tichovska the “queen” of the Championships. The two gold medals (Sprint and Long Distance), one silver (Middle Distance) and one bronze (Courier) achieved for her speak too high compared with the medals achieved by the concurrence. The victory of Gaëlle Barlet in the Middle Distance and the Finnish Ingrid Stengard, Susanna Laurila and Marika Hara in the Relay, are also great achievements. To the gold in Relay, Laurila joins the silver in the sprint, which makes of her the second female athlete of the Championships.

4. On the other hand, if Tichovska is the “queen”, Anton Foliforov must be elected as “king” of the Championships. Two gold medals (Middle Distance and Long Distance) and one silver (Relay) are strong arguments in favour of the Russian. Achieving the historic Sprint title for Italy, which adds a silver medal (Middle Distance) and a bronze medal (Long Distance), Luca Dallavalle is another of the key figures of the World Championships, alongside the Austrian Kevin Haselsberger, Bernard Schachinger and Andreas Waldmann, surprising winners of the Relay.

5. In the second line of the personalities that marked these Championships, particular reference to the two podiums of the Swedish Cecilia Thomasson, bronze medallist in the Sprint and Long Distance. The silver medals of the Czech Vojtech Stransky (Sprint), the Finnish Jussi Laurila (Long Distance) and the Russian Svetlana Poverina (Long Distance and Relay) are strong arguments for their inclusion in this “second line” of the Championships' stars.

6. On the side of disappointments - not so much for what they did, but above all for what they didn't, given the expectations - are the Norwegian Hans Jorgen Kvale, “only” fourth in the Sprint and missing the other individual podiums, and especially the French Baptiste Fuchs, Yoann Garde and Cédric Beill, out of the top six in the individual races. From the Russian Valeriy Glohov, the Lithuanian Jonas Maiselis, the Finnish Pekka Niemi, the Estonian Tõnis Erm and the Austrian Tobias Breitschadel we would expect something more. As for the women, the British Emily Benham is, in spite of her bronze medal and two fourth places, one of the losers of the Championships, together with the Finnish Marika Hara, whose gold medal in the Relay can not delete her discoloured performances in the individual races. The French Hana Garde, the Finnish Antonia Haga and the Danish Caecilie Christoffersen stayed below the expectations.

7. In the Junior World Championships, France led the medalist, earning six of the 24 medals distributed, including two gold, three silver and one bronze. Also with six medals (two gold, two silver and two bronze), Russia ranked second in the table, while Sweden, with two gold medals and three bronze, ranked third. Followed, the Czech Republic (one gold medal, one silver and one bronze) and Australia (one gold medal). The remaining medals fit to Slovakia and Switzerland, with a silver medal each, and Finland, with a bronze medal.

8. Individually, the Swede Oskar Sandberg was the “prince” of the Championships, with two gold medals (Middle Distance and Long Distance) and one bronze medal (Sprint). Angus Robinson, by winning for Australia the first medal ever in the Junior World Championships - and a gold one, in Sprint (!) - it's also worthy of a very special mention. In turn, the French Lou Denaix deserves the title of “princess”, with a gold medal (Relay) and three silver medals on her luggage. A special note to Darya Mikryukova, not only for her extraordinary youth, but especially for the achievements of gold (Long Distance), silver (Courier) and bronze (Middle Distance and Sprint) that she took to Russia.

9. Finally we talk about the Portuguese participation in these Championships, which had a really positive note in the seventh place of the men's Relay, in what is the best result ever from our team in the World Championships. Even far from the podiums of 2011 and 2012, the 16th place of Davide Machado in the Long Distance is also noteworthy. The results of the “veterans” Daniel Marques and Carlos Simões also worth a flattering reference. Far from what was expected, stayed the female Elite team and the male Junior team, with results in the back of the respective standings.

Joaquim Margarido

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