Friday, August 07, 2015

WOC 2015: Gueorgiou and Bobach, "kings" of Long Distance



With the victories of Thierry Gueorgiou and Ida Bobach in the Long Distance, the World Orienteering Championships WOC 2015 came to the end. In the “exile” of Glen Afric, triumphs as tasty as suffered, facing a highest level concurrence.


As happened in 2014, the French Thierry Gueorgiou, the Swiss Daniel Hubmann and the Norwegian Olav Lundanes concluded by this order the Men Long Distance final that ended the World Orienteering Championships WOC 2015, held in the beautiful region of Inverness, Scotland. In fact they were the big favourites - the only favourites! - to occupy the podium places, especially considering that, since 2008, the three athletes divided among themselves all the world titles in this distance. Really tight, the course placed face to face the three giants and their progression lines nearly overlapped from the beginning to the end. Despite the mistakes, the relative differences between them rarely exceeded one minute and Hubmann, very close to the end, was even in the lead. But with the most desired title close at hand - and in a moment when the end of his career is quickly approaching - Thierry Gueorgiou knew how to do the right thing and turned out to be the fastest and the only athlete to lower the barrier of 100 minutes, concluding with the time of 1:39:46. The French arrives so to his 13th world title, the fourth in the Long Distance over the past five years and the third in a row.

Hubmann and Lundanes, as said before, occupied the following positions, with more 25 seconds and 57 seconds, respectively, than the winner. France still would classify two athletes in the 10 first positions, with Frederic Tranchand finishing in the 4th place, reaching his best result ever at this distance, and Lucas Basset being the 9th ranked. Switzerland also placed two athletes in the top 10, with Fabian Hertner and Matthias Kyburz to occupy, by this order, the 5th and 6th positions. As for Manuel Horta, the only Portuguese present in this final, finished in the 55th position in a set of 74 athletes.


Clear victory of Ida Bobach

"I know that I could do better so I'm disappointed about today's 4th place. Looking forward to a new chance at the relay tomorrow.” With these words, Ida Bobach expressed her feelings after the Middle Distance final, last Tuesday. Then, that's what we know: the athlete knew how to manage things and, with an absolutely remarkable course, contribute significantly to the historic first title ever for Denmark in the female Relay. It was therefore with the taste of a so special victory that she stood on the starting line, this afternoon, ready to break a “fast” of 41 years, after the victory of Mona Nørgaard in the Long Distance (then called “Classic Distance”), in the fifth edition of the World Championships, held precisely in Denmark, more specifically in Silkeborg. Contrasting with the difficulties certainly felt over the 9.7 kilometers of her course (with 440 meters of climb), the story of Ida Bobach's victory seems to be easy to tell. Consistency, concentration and an exceptional physical shape were the recipes for the success, crowned with a clear victory in 1:15:35. Ida Bobach's achievement correspond to her first individual gold medal in World Championships, sealing in the best way the Danish participation in WOC 2015, reaching four of the five titles in dispute (the Swedish Annika Billstam, World Champion of Middle Distance, was the only athlete to break the dominance of the Danish).

Pointed as a strong candidate to the medals, the Norwegian Mari Fasting hold the second position, with more 2:44 than Ida Bobach. Although some small errors, the athlete was pretty perfect in the final part of the her course, recovering places behind places to reach her first individual medal in a World Orienteering Championships. Defending today the world title achieved in Italy last year, the Russian Svetlana Mironova was the third ranked, at 3:04 of the winner. Seven seconds slower than the Russian, the Swedish Tove Alexandersson - pointed by many as a major favourite for the title - was not beyond the fourth position. For the first time running a WOC final of Long Distance, the Russian Natalia Vinogradova reached an excellent 5th place while Britain's Catherine Taylor closed the podium in the 6th position, after the 5th place achieved in the Middle Distance. This result will have been precious in the reorganization of selections regarding the next edition of the WOC, with Latvia down to the second division, in exchange with Britain, promoted now to the first division. As for the Portuguese Patricia Casalinho, she finished 64th ranked among the 69 athletes who lined up in the race.


Results

Men
1. Thierry Gueorgiou (France) 1:39:46 (+ 00:00)
2. Daniel Hubmann (Switzerland) 1:40:11 (+ 00:25)
3. Olav Lundanes (Norway) 1:40:43 (+ 00:57)
4. Frederic Tranchand (France) 1:41:26 (+ 01:40)
5. Fabian Hertner (Switzerland) 1:41:44 (+ 01:58)
6. Matthias Kyburz (Switzerland) 1:42:21 (+ 02:35)
7. Olle Bostrom (Sweden) 1:42:36 (+ 02:50)
8. Gustav Bergmann (Sweden) 1:43:25 (+ 03:39)
9. Lucas Basset (France) 1:44:22 (+ 04:36)
10. Hans Gunnar Omdal (Norway) 1:44:38 (+ 04:52)
(...)
55. Manuel Horta (Portugal) 2:21:08 (+ 41:22)

Women
1. Ida Bobach (Denmark) 1:15:35 (+ 00:00)
2. Mari Fasting (Norway) 1:18:19 (+ 02:44)
3. Svetlana Mironova (Russia) 1:18:39 (+ 03:04)
4. Tove Alexandersson (Sweden) 1:18:46 (+ 03:11)
5. Natalia Vinogradova (Russia) 1:19:01 (+ 03:26)
6. Catherine Taylor (Great Britain) 1:19:36 (+ 04:01)
7. Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg (Norway) 1:20:27 (+ 04:52)
8. Sara Luescher (Switzerland) 1:21:16 (+ 05:41)
9. Nadiya Volynska (Ukraine) 1:21:28 (+ 05:53)
10. Hanny Allston (Australia) 1:21:47 (+ 06:12)
(...)
64. Patricia Casalinho (Portugal) 2:31:23 (+ 1:15:48)

Complete results and further information at www.woc2015.org.

[Photo: WOC2015 / woc2015.org/long/liveblog]

Joaquim Margarido

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