Friday, December 09, 2016

The Orienteering Achievement of 2016 - Women: Vote for your candidate!



It is great for the sport to see excellent nominations for athletes from nations which are traditionally not on top of the result lists in international orienteering, like Belarus, Canada, Moldova and New Zealand. All these athletes have done exceptional orienteering achievements in 2016 – along with the nominated athletes from the more established top nations in orienteering Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Russia. Let's take a look on the stories of the nominees to the Orienteering Achievement of 2016 – Women.



Maja Alm

Nominated for
Maja Alm was again the dominant sprinter at the World Orienteering Championships winning the sprint and deciding the sprint relay. However, her fight to take Denmark to relay silver was maybe even more impressive than the two gold medals. Repeating a success is never easy - Alm did it wonderfully!

Story
Maja Alm won "The Orienteering Achievement of 2015" due to her fantastic results at the World Orienteering Championships in Scotland - this year her races at the World Orienteering Championships were just as impressive . In addition the smiling Danish athlete managed to take a 5th place in the most technical orienteering discipline, the middle distance. Brilliant domination in womans orienteering - with amazing physical and mental abilities.



Anastasia Denisova

Nominated for
Shocked the orienteering world by taking the first ever medal for Belarus at the World Orienteering Championships with her Sprint bronze medal. Continued to amaze everybody by finishing 8th at the middle and 6th at the long in her first World Orienteering Championships.

Story
Already as a youth and junior Anastasia Denisova showed that she was an exceptional talent, taking sprint bronze medals both at the European Youth Championships (2011) and Junior World Championships (2013). But the step from a junior medal to a senior medal is a step which very few manage to take - especially at her first World Orienteering Championships and with a personal best in the World Cup ahead of WOC in the 20'ies. This is a story of excellent and targeted preparations, strong will and believing in the (nearly) impossible. Her 8th place at the middle and 6th place at the long distance were maybe even more impressive than the sprint medal .One of the many people nominating Denisova puts her forest orienteering achievements in some perspective: - I should note that if the sprint performance could have been predicted, then middle and long success were surprisingly high even for Anastasia herself.



Tove Alexandersson

Nominated for
After never winning a gold medal at the big championships before, Alexandersson finally showed that she is the best orienteer in the world on the day when it really counts: Winning both individual forest gold medals at both WOC and EOC. Wow!

Story
Tove Alexandersson has been the best woman orienteer in the world for most of the season for years - but until this season she never won an individual gold medal at either the World Orienteering Championships or the European Orienteering Championships. This year she did something different: Instead of running everything like she often has done, she focused fully on the forest races in the championships - even with excellent gold medal chances in both sprint and sprint relay. This sacrifice did however give Alexandersson 4 shiny gold medals - compared to zero in her previous successful career! On top of that: Overall World Cup victory in both the foot-o and ski-o World Cup and several medals in international ski-o championships.



Simona Aebersold

Nominated for
18 years old and already the dominant junior orienteer in the world with three gold medals of four possible at the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Switzerland. A new Swiss Simona after Simone?

Story
Simona Aebersold started JWOC on home ground with a clear sprint victory. At the long distance the next day she was on her way to another clear victory, but she forgot a control in the last half of the course and lost many minutes by running back to it. One rest day, and Aebersold managed to be on top mentally again and take another gold medal at the middle distance. On the last day she continued her impressive performances and took Switzerland to gold. Fantastic achievements by a fantastic, young athlete.



Emily Kemp

Nominated for
A breakthrough result in forest orienteering for an athlete from a non-European country after showing loads of dedication: Best ever result for Canadian orienteering with 4th place at both WOC and EOC middle distance. Add to that 8th and 7th at WOC and EOC long distance.

Story
The story about Emily Kemp is the story about the Canadian orienteer who moved from Canada to France at young age just to become a better orienteer. A few years later she moved on from France to Finland for the same reason. Always looking to improve, and this year making her breakthrough at the very top international level with her best performances on the days when it counted the most - the WOC and EOC middle distance races. One of the readers nominating Kemp puts it like this: - Emily Kemp, for showing real passion, persistency and dedication to her sport which required her to move continents and constantly challenge herself and seek new opportunities. A tale of dedication and talent rewarded.



Natalia Gemperle

Nominated for
Big breakthrough for Natalia Gemperle with WOC medals in both WOC long (silver) and middle (bronze) - and being a key player in Russia's two relay gold medals in WOC and EOC.

Story
Natalia Gemperle (formerly Vinogradova) started her senior career with a very strong 5th place at the exceptionally technical WOC middle distance in France in 2011. Since then she has struggled to take the next step - until this season when she took very big steps, and proved herself as one of the biggest challengers to Tove Alexandersson. In addition her great relay runs gave her two gold medals - especially the last leg on the WOC relay was impressive. To put it in the words of on the readers nominating Gemperle: - Natalia managed to become both European and World champion with a strong Russian team in relays. I’d like to mention here especially her cool-headed execution in a last leg of exciting WOC relay.



Russian Women Team

Nominated for
The first ever World Orienteering Championships women relay gold for Russia with Anastasia Rudnaya, Svetlana Mironova and Natalia Gemperle. Also bronze medal at EOC relay.

Story
Russia has been among the top teams in the world for years, but this year was the first time ever they managed to win the relay gold medal in the women's class. After good legs by Anastasia Rudnaya and Svetlana Mironova, Natalia Gemperle ran the last leg. The battle for victory was very close, with 6 teams in the fight for the medals at the start of the leg. Gemperle decided for Russia after an exciting battle.



Finnish Women Team

Nominated for
Taking Finland to the top again with EOC relay gold medal and WOC relay bronze medal: First victory in an international relay after Minna Kauppi's time, when Finland dominated the international relays.

Story
In Minna Kauppi's era, Finland was the best relay nation in the world - winning five World Championships relays in six years from 2006 to 2011. Since then the Finnish women have struggled to get back to the very top. But this year Finland was back - with Marika Teini, Merja Rantanen and Sari Anttonen taking the gold medal in an exciting European Championships relay. At the World Championships they nearly managed to do the same again, being in the lead at the arena passage on the last leg, but a bronze medal was still an excellent result for the Finnish team.



Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg

Nominated for
Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg - for her will to keep fighting hard: Her bronze at the WOC long distance is her best ever result at the WOC long distance at the age of 40.

Story
Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg has been part of the World Orienteering elite for many, many years, taking her first international championships medal back at the European Championships in 2002 at the sprint. Hausken Nordberg has been a good long distance runner for years, but never managed to take a World Championship medal at the long distance until in Sweden this year. Her results in the WOC Long since 2006 are 6-4-4-7-8-pregnancy-5-skipped-pregnancy-7-3. As one of the readers writes: - Inspired by Rune Haraldsson, she is herself a true inspiration to all of us who are convinced that age is only a number.


The annual poll to find the best Orienteering Achievements of the year is organized by the major source for international orienteering news on the Internet – World of O. You can vote for the Orienteering Achievement of 2016 – Women here or by clicking on the image below. 


[Press Release: Orienteering Achievement of 2016 / Jan Kocbach]

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