Saturday, April 29, 2017

WMOC 2017: Swedish Masters stronger in the Long Distance

Orienteering was one out of 19 sports in action on the penultimate day of the World Masters Games, in Auckland, New Zealand. In the Woodhill Forest took place the Long Distance Final of the World Masters Orienteering Championships 2017, in which Sweden was the great winner after achieving eight World titles.

The World Masters Orienteering Championships 2017 have come to an end. The masters' big party gathered in Auckland close to 1800 athletes from 40 countries, for a week full of excitement and fun, with the highest points falling on Monday, with the Sprint Finals and today, with the Long Distance Finals. A total of 1558 competitors were in action at the last major moment of the Championships, of whom 848 were in the direct fight for the medals and the remainder competing in the B and C Finals.

With 183 representatives, Sweden lined up in the A Finals with the widest team and managed to combine quality with quantity, as demonstrated by the eight gold medals achieved, as well as five silver and four bronze medals. Finland won four gold medals, five silver and five bronze medals, while Australians and Norwegians won three gold and one silver medals; here, Norway were at a disadvantage, getting only one bronze medal against three of the Australians. In addition to the four countries already mentioned, athletes from Great Britain, Bulgaria, Russia, Switzerland and New Zealand, the host country, also won gold medals.

Among the 23 World Long Distance Champions, six won their second gold medal at these Championships, after their triumphs in the Sprint Final on Monday. In this situation it's possible to see the Australians Jo Allison (W40), Natasha Key (W45) and Warren Key (M55), the Finnish Petteri Muukkonen (M40), the Swedish Birgitta Billstam (W70) and the Norwegian Paul Forseth (M85). As a matter of curiosity, Petteri Muukonen and Natasha Key were the only athletes to keep the world titles achieved in 2016, in Estonia.

Long Distance World Champions

W/M35 Paivi Autio (Finland) and Samuli Salmenoja (Finland)
W/M40 Jo Allison (Australia) and Petteri Muukkonen (Finland)
W/M45 Natasha Key (Australia) and Ivaylo Ivanov (Bulgaria)
W/M50 – Carina Svensson (Sweden) and Mats Nylund (Sweden)
W/M55 – Carey Nazzer (New Zealand) and Warren Key (Australia)
W/M60 – Kjellrun Sporild (Norway) and Stefan Carlsson (Sweden)
W/M65 – Irina Stepanova (Russia) and Markku Pietikäinen (Finland)
W/M70 – Birgitta Billstam (Sweden) and Robin Sloan (Great Britain)
W/M75 – Anne-Beate Persson (Sweden) and Heinz Keller (Switzerland)
W/M80 – Unni Dirro Bøhlerengen (Norway) and Sivert Axelsson (Sweden)
W/M85 Signe Nyman (Sweden) and Paul Forseth (Norway)
M90 – Rune Isaksson (Sweden)

Complete results and further information HERE.

Joaquim Margarido

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