Monday, August 10, 2015

WOC 2015: The day after

1. In a Clinic for Senior Event Advisers, I learned that it's not worth to complicate things. “For easier than a course can be, it will always be difficult for some”, it was said. This was the philosophy of the organizers of the World Orienteering Championships WOC 2015. From a technical point of view, the terrain was challenging enough for even the best make mistakes. Why further entrap things? That said, five stars for the organization of the World Orienteering Championships WOC 2015.

2. There were only eight countries sharing the 27 medals hand out. With four gold medals, Denmark led the table of honour of the Championships, with Switzerland and Sweden occupying the following positions, with two gold medals each. More valuable the medalist from Switzerland, with the addition of two silver medals, more robust the medalist of Sweden, with the extra four bronze medals. The remaining gold medal was awarded to France, joining to it one silver and one bronze medal. With four silver medals and one bronze, Norway occupied the fifth position, followed by Ukraine and Finland, with a silver medal each. Finally, with three bronze medals, Russia closed the medal table of this WOC 2015.

3. If we want to extend to the top six the list of athletes awarded with diplomas in these World Championships, we start by saying that were in number of 64 the athletes in these conditions, representing 14 different nations. With four diplomas, the Swiss Daniel Hubmann was the most “graduate”, followed by his teammates Fabian Hertner and Matthias Kyburz, the Danish Maja Alm and Ida Bobach and the Finnish Merja Rantanen, with three diplomas each. Meaningful the two diplomas of the Danish Emma Klingenberg, corresponding to two gold medals. Significant also the diplomas of the Australian Hanny Alston, the only non European athlete being distinguished, and the Belgian Yannick Michiels, winning the first diploma ever in the history of his country. At seven seconds to the same achievement stayed the Spanish Andreu Blanes, despite his seventh place in the Sprint Final also be the best result ever of a Spanish athlete in the World Championships.

4. Individually, it must be recognized in the person of the Danish Maja Alm the title of “queen” of the Championships. Her three gold medals (Sprint, Mixed Sprint Relay and Relay) speak too loud, compared with the two gold medals (Relay and Long Distance) of her team mate Ida Bobach, which joins to it the 4th place in the Middle Distance. Imperative, also, to recognize the value of the gold medal of the Swedish Annika Billstam - repeating the achievement of 2014 -, making of her another of the leading names of the event.

5. On the other hand, Daniel Hubmann is the “king” of the Championships. Two gold medals (Middle Distance and Relay), one silver medal (Long Distance) and even a 6th place in the Sprint Final show the supremacy of the Swiss athlete over the concurrency. Achieving his fourth title of Long Distance in the last five years (the third in a row), the French Thierry Gueorgiou is another of the key figures of the World Championships, alongside with the Swedish Jonas Leandersson, World Champion in Sprint.

6. In the second line of the personalities that have marked these Championships, special reference to the French Lucas Basset. He was one of the few athletes who were present in all five finals of the World Championships, reaching the silver medal in the Middle Distance, added to the bronze in the Relay and still a seventh place in the Sprint Mixed Relay and the 9th place in the Long Distance. Another highlight was the Norwegian Magne Daehli, silver medal in the Relay and 4th place in the Middle Distance. A word also for the Swiss Martin Hubmann, silver medal in the Sprint and 4th place in the Mixed Sprint Relay. From the Women side, the Ukrainian Nadiya Volynska deserves a place of honour, reaching the silver medal in the Sprint and finishing in 6th place in the Middle Distance and being 9th in the Long Distance, which corresponds the best results ever for Ukraine in the three distances. The performances of the Norwegian Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg in the Sprint Mixed Relay and Relay, resulted in two celebrated silver medals for his country. Noteworthy also to the Russian Galina Vinogradova and Svetlana Mironova, the Swedish Emma Johansson and the British Catherine Taylor for the quality and value of their results.

7. On the side of the disappointments of these Championships - not so much for what they did but above all for what they didn't, given the lot that was expected from them - are the Finnish Marten Bostrom, the Swedish Gustav Bergman, the Latvian Edgars Bertuks, the British Scott Fraser and the Ukrainian Oleksandr Kratov in the Men. As for the Women, the big deceptions are in the filed of the Finnish Minna Kauppi, the Swedish Helena Jansson and Tove Alexandersson and the Swiss Judith Wyder.

8. Finally we talk about the Portuguese participation in these Championships, which should be considered very positive. In a country plagued by a severe economic crisis, to be present in Scotland was a remarkable achievement. If we add to this the qualification of Mariana Moreira for the Sprint Final (before this, only Raquel Costa had achieved this remarkable feat) and still the best result ever in the Middle Distance, also work of Mariana Moreira, the least we can say is that the Portuguese team deserves a big hurray!

[Photo: Robert Lines /]

Joaquim Margarido

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