Pavel Kurfürst got the TempO's gold on the second day of the European Trail Orienteering Championships ETOC 2016. The Czech knew how to break the nordic favoritism, being faster than Martin Jullum and Ján Furucz, silver and bronze, respectively. Inês Domingues, was the best Portuguese competitor, finishing in the 11th position.
After the TrailO Relay’s emotion, the second day of ETOC 2016 began with the completion of two TempO qualifying heats, in which took part 87 competitors. The beautiful green space of Zlaté Hory hosted the courses, consisting of six timed stations with four tasks each (one of the stations in Heat A would be voided). The Heats's winners were the Italian Michele Cera, PreO World Champion currently and the Swedish Marit Wiksell, ETOC 2014's bronze medalist. Looking to the qualifying final standings, one can notice the huge balance in the Heat A’s top positions and the comfortable winning of Marit Wiksell in the Heat B. 36 competitors reached a place in the final, with Sweden (seven competitors) and Finland (five competitors) leading a list of representatives from 14 different countries. Italy, Czech Republic, Norway and Portugal confirmed their potential, qualifying three athletes each to the final. Out of the final stayed the young Norwegian Sondre Ruud Braten, bronze medalist in the World Trail Orienteering Championships WTOC 2015, in Croatia.
The big decision took place a few hours later in Lázně Jeseník, in a course of seven timed stations, with four tasks each. In the betting exchange, Marit Wiksell, Lauri Kontkanen, Martin Jullum, Pinjä Makinen and Martin Fredholm were the best rated. On the other hand, Ján Furucz, Michele Cera, Luis Gonçalves, Pavel Kurfürst and Remo Madella were here also fighting for the gold, in a real “Scandinavia vs Rest of the World” contest. And it was from the “outsiders” that came the first big result. Having been the penultimate classified in his Heat, the Hungarian Zoltán Miháczi was the first to get a result under the 300 seconds, taking the lead and aiming for a final result that, at least, could improve the 9th place achieved in the last European Championships. The first major obstacle was called Luís Gonçalves, 6th placed in the last World Championships in TempO, but the Portuguese was far from his best, finishing with time of 432 seconds. In the meanwhile, the World Vice-Champion in TempO, Ján Furucz (Slovakia), would achieve a great performance, improving Miháczi's time in 9 seconds and assuming the lead. At this point, with 356 seconds, the Portuguese Inês Domingues was the third ranked among the 21 competitors who had finished the race.
Hot, hot, hot
The results continued to arrive in real time, whether in the arena or via Internet, at home of all those who were willing to follow the race. Now, everybody was able to see how important was to perform well in the first and the last stations, in fact the key for a great result. Or for a disaster! The hot phase had started and the Czech Pavel Kurfürst reached a new best time, with 258,5 seconds, with the Norwegian Martin Jullum immediately afterwards, 8 seconds behind Kurfürst. There are six missing athletes to finish their races and the relative positions of the first three remained the same, with Kurfürst in the lead, followed by Jullum and Furucz. Mihaczi was in the 4th place, while the Italian Remo Madella and Inês Domingues closed the podium places.
Now is the time of the Swedish Martin Fredholm to finish his race with 331,5 seconds overall, losing precious seconds on the last station but still entering directly to the 6th position and moving definitely Inês Domingues away from the podium. The last station was fatal to Lauri Kontkanen, Finland, finishing 20 seconds after Fredholm and staying automatically out of the podium. Instead of a not so good start, Pinja Makinen concluded his course with the time of 323.5 seconds, reaching the 5th place, before Madella. Fredholm is now out of the podium. Finally, the winners of the Qualifying Heats, the last to leave. Michele Cera finished with 314,5 seconds and reached the 5th place while Marit Wiksell, very irregular, couldn't do better than the 9th position with 351,5 seconds, the same time as Lauri Kontkanen. Inês Domingues finished in the eleven position, while Luis Gonçalves and João Pedro Valente were the 20th and the 33rd placed, respectively.
1. Pavel Kurfürst (Czech Republic) 258,5 seconds
2. Martin Jullum (Norway) 266,5 seconds
3. Ján Furucz (Slovakia) 288,5 seconds
4. Zoltán Miháczi (Hungary) 297,5 seconds
5. Michele Cera (Italy) 314,5 seconds
6. Pinja Mäkinen (Finland) 323,5 seconds
7. Remo Madella (Italy) 324,5 seconds
8. Martin Fredholm (Sweden) 331,5 seconds
9. Marit Wiksell (Sweden) 351,5 seconds
9. Lauri Kontkanen (Finland) 351,5 seconds
11. Inês Domingues (Portugal) 356 seconds
20. Luis Gonçalves (Portugal) 432 seconds
33. João Pedro Valente (Portugal) 592 seconds
Full results and further information at http://www.etoc2016.cz/.