Anticipating the outcome of the Middle Distance qualifying heats of the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2016, the question, normal, appeared on the event webpage: Will the “big nations” bring all their runners into the A-final? And which of the “small” countries are ready for surprises? Read the article to know the answers.
After a day of well-deserved break, the Junior World Orienteering Championships JWOC 2016 came back with the Middle Distance's qualifying heats. On a broken-up hill-side with areas of detailed contours and rocky features, as well as pine and spruce forests and small open areas and few marshes, distraction is everything but appropriate, as technically and physically challenging courses continuously demanded the utmost concentration, requiring precision and flexibility.
In the M20 class, Switzerland, Finland and Sweden shared triumphs in the three heats. Current World Champion at this distance, the Finnish Olli Ojanaho won the first heat with the time of 25:09 and an advantage of 24 seconds over the second-placed, the Swiss Thomas Curiger, silver medalist in the Sprint and Long Distance this year's JWOC. Gold medalist in the two finals already hold, the Swiss Joey Hadorn continues unstoppable and fulfilled his race in the second heat in 23:45, 34 seconds ahead of the Austrian Mathias Peter. The victory in the third heat smiled to the Swedish Isac von Krusenstierna, the remaining medalist in the two previous finals. All seven athletes who joined the top20 in the Middle Distance final of JWOC 2015, in Rauland, Norway, and now lined up at the start for the qualifying heats, stamped the passport to the Final and only the Finnish Topi Raitanen stayed out of a place in the top five.
As for the W20 class, the Swiss showed again their great shape with Valerie Aebischer winning the first heat in 26:51, against 27:12 of the Norwegian Eide Ingeborg, and Simona Aebersold being the fastest in the third heat, finishing her race in 27:25 and leaving the second placed, the British Fiona Bunn, at far 1:10. Junior Vice-World Champion of Middle Distance currently and, therefore, the highest rated runner in todays race, the Swedish Johanna Oberg won the second heat with a time of 28:12, against 28:32 of the Danish Amanda Falck Weber, in the second position. Here too, the eight athletes who registered marks in the top20 of JWOC 2015's Middle Distance ensured a place in the final A.
The law of the strongest
Altogether 120 athletes qualified up for the Final A, representing 27 different nations. Switzerland and Norway, with 6 athletes each, retain the full team for the Men's final, but if to these we add the names of Finland, Czech Republic and Sweden, with five athletes each, we have nearly half of the competitors representing the five “big nations”. With four athletes in the Final A, Germany is one of the very positive surprises, as are the sensational lone representatives of Turkey, the United States and Moldova, respectively Orhan Kutlu, Michael Laraia and Anatoly Fomiciov. At the other extreme we find Denmark, with only a keen athlete, Bidstrup Moller Laurits.
Also in W20 class, Switzerland and Norway were the only nations to get to ascertain all their athletes, and also here the Czech Republic, with five athletes qualified for the final, Sweden and Finland, both with four athletes, do prevail orienteering's force of the so called “big” countries. Once more, we can see Germany in the best way, getting four athletes into the Final A, feat matched by Great Britain. United States and Spain, with two athletes each, and Romania with an athlete, also deserve a reference. The number of countries represented in the women's final is of 22, but there are five changes in relation to the male list. Canada, Romania Ukraine, Bulgaria and Spain will be represented in the Women's Final A, exchanging with Italy, Turkey, Australia, Slovakia and Moldova, which only have representatives in the Men's Final A.
1. Olli Ojanaho (Finland) 25:09 (+ 00:00)
2. Thomas Curiger (Switzerland) 25:33 (+ 00:24)
3. Topias Ahola (Finland) 26:01 (+ 00:52)
4. Riccardo Scalet (Italy) 26:42 (+ 01:33)
5. Audun Heimdal (Norway) 26:50 (+ 01:41)
6. Henry McNulty (Australia) 26:53 (+ 01:44)
41. Ricardo Esteves Ferreira (Portugal) 35:28 (+ 10:19)
43. João Novo (Portugal) 37:27 (+ 12:18)
1. Joey Hadorn (Switzerland) 23:45 (+ 00:00)
2. Mathias Peter (Austria) 24:19 (+ 00:34)
3. Vojtech Kettner (Czech republic) 26:58 (+ 03:13)
4. Olai Stensland Lillevold (Norway) 27:08 (+ 03:23)
5. Simon Hector (Sweden) 27:15 (+ 03:30)
6. Matt Doyle (Australia) 27:24 (+ 03:39)
dnf Bernardo Pereira (Portugal)
1. Isac von Krusenstierna (Sweden) 26:00 (+ 00:00)
2. Simon Imark (Sweden) 26:11 (+ 00:11)
3. Noah Zbinden (Switzerland) 27:50 (+ 01:50)
4. Shamus Morrison (New Zealand) 27:51 (+ 01:51)
5. Anton Kuukka (Finland) 27:57 (+ 01:57)
6. Elias Thorsdal Molvnik (Norway) 27:58 (+ 01:58)
39. João Bernardino (Portugal) 33:56 (+ 07:56)
50. Vasco Duarte (Portugal) 39:45 (+ 13:45)
1. Valerie Aebischer (Switzerland) 26:51 (+ 00:00)
2. Ingeborg Eide (Norway) 27:12 (+ 00:21)
3. Megan Carter Davies (Great Britain) 27:20 (+ 00:29)
4. Josefine Lind (Denmark) 28:41 (+ 01:50)
5. Anna Haataja (Finland) 28:47 (+ 01:56)
6. Tereza Novakova (Czech Republic) 29:37 (+ 02:46)
1. Johanna Oberg (Sweden) 28:12 (+ 00:00)
2. Amanda falck Wever (Denmark) 28:32 (+ 00:20)
3. Csenge Viniczai (Hungary) 28:43 (+ 00:31)
4. Hanna Mueller (Switzerland) 28:57 (+ 00:45)
5. Aleksandra Hornik (Poland) 29:16 (+ 01:04)
6. Alena Rakova (Russia) 29:23 (+ 01:11)
36. Filipa Rodrigues (Portugal) 38:04 (+ 09:52)
1. Simona Aebersold (Switzerland) 27:25 (+ 00:00)
2. Fiona Bunn (Great Britain) 28:35 (+ 01:10)
3. Anna Stickova (Czech Republic) 28:40 (+ 01:15)
4. Olena Postelniak (Ukraine) 29:59 (+ 02:34)
5. Barbora Chaloupska (Czech Republic) 30:03 (+ 02:38)
6. Andreya Dyaksova (Bulgaria) 30:20 (+ 02:55)
28. Joana Fernandes (Portugal) 34:54 (+ 07:29)
Complete results and further information at http://www.jwoc2016.ch/.
[Image: jwoc 2016 switzerland – www.steineggerpix.com / photo by rémy steinegger]