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WOC Team

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 19 August 2011, 7:20 AM  
Some very late reporting from the sprint

The sprint final day started for me at 6am. As we had to leave our hotel at 7 to enter the quarantine zone the team had asked me to check how far away it was, fortunately not too far!

When we entered the quarantine we discovered it was an old judo  dojo, the Russians, Austrians and Japanese were there already trying to catch some more sleep. I continue to be amazed by how global this WOC feels. It is so special that for the first time this year more than 50 countries have sent teams to WOC.

The actual sprint qual race was shaped much as we expected, a cluster of controls through the forested town belt area followed by route choice legs and then some urban orienteering to finish. Where perhaps we were caught out in out preparation was the first leg, long and straight up. Not the sort of leg to attack 100% at the start of a race that relies so much on keeping fresh legs and a clear mind. Orienteering is the art of calculated restraint.

Toby made an early mistake when he didn't read a direct track route to a circle full of dark green and black and so made a conservative route choice.

The race for the team was largely uneventful after this until the urban area where most dropped about 30 seconds to a minute in hesitations and small errors. Toby also exited contention with a wrong control 4 from the end.

At the finish it was complete chaos. No one had a clue how performances were stacking up. Despite an ampitheatre and large crowd there were no attempts to display results other than A4 sheets pasted to a board every 10 minutes. Even an attentive manager could only observe that Lizzie was safe, Ross was borderline and the other three were probably outside the top 15. For those final qualification spots it really comes down to a battle with the athletes from similarly ranked countries like Lithuania, Australia, Austria and Poland and so much hangs on the composition of individual heats. In the end it was unfortunately just our top two athletes who came through, but the others acquitted themselves well.

Then the controversy started. At the team managers meeting following the races it was announced that 38 runners had been disqualified. There were three separate issues: lawns at the end that were marked olive green, an olive green area with no distinct boundary in the last third of the course and an uncrossable wall  at the end of the first route choice leg.

For the first and second issues transgressing athletes were disqualified, altough exceptions were made for athletes that "realized" and turned around... for the third issue the athletes were pardoned, when pressured the organizers revealed that this would have resulted in the disqualification of a further 70 athletes!

Penny was unfortunately among those dsqed with the second issue, as she had not qualified we decided not to protest, several teams did though and 4 athletes were reinstated, of these Scott Fraser of GBR went on to finish in the top ten. At the time of writing (the night of the long final) the final results have still not been confirmed and it is quite plausible that many of the dsqs may be overturned.

We rushed into Chambery to get Ross and Lizzie into the quarantine. We had investigated Chambery earlier in the week and it promised to be a real maze, underpasses, alleys and courtyards  set beneath three stories of stone buildings. When the course was revealed there was also the added dimension of a castle, visible from the arena with a control in its ramparts.

Usually the term "arena" is a little bold for an orienteering event centre but this was something else.Competitors were displayed above the crowd before on go they descended down a red carpeted ramp into the seething masses. They appeared briefly on the castle during the course then as a finale sprinted up a curved finish chute through a sea of flags.

As manager I again missed a trick. We had not made a point of talking about the long dark alleys and route choice options to maximize map reading time. This didn't seem to affect Ross and Lizzie though, they smoked it. Ross's 25th is his best yet result at WOC, while Lizzies 11th is NZ's best sprint result and second best individual WOC result ever!

The Swedish womens team picked up the first three spots. I was among the crowd hovering at the TV in the teams arena and it was great to see Helen Jansson cheering hard for her team mates as they knocked her down the podium.

I have been trying to watch the coaches and managers of the big teams and figure out what I am supposed to do, this is a little challenging when the big teams have 7 officials. The general theme seems to be a mature calming presence with plenty of spare water and food. That's the goal anyway.

Rightio I'm just going to publish this now. Apologies for the delay.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 19 August 2011, 7:22 AM  
The Day of Truth

New Zealands top orienteers face a day if truth today in the World Orienteering Championship Middle Distance final.

Last Sunday four of the six person team advanced through the heats, all three of the women: Lizzie Ingham, Amber Morrison and Penny Kane as well as the indomitable Chris Forne.

The middle distance is the most technically demanding of the three individual disciplines. With winning times of around 30 minutes, tomorrows events will take place largely on a steep and rocky karst slope under the shade of mature beech trees. Competitors will pop out to the glare of the spectator arena before a final loop that adds to the drama.

In World Championship finals all competitors wear a gps tracking device that feeds live onto the internet and into the television broadcast that is displayed on a big screen at the event. Mistakes can be seen and replayed around the orienteering world.

Of the kiwis, Lizzie Ingham is the most likely to feature near the top of the results list. She has stepped into top echelon of world orienteers this week. Three confident and secure qualification races capped by 11th and 13th places in the sprint and long finals. A top ten result is very plausible.

Morrison and Kane are also eyeing top. 20 results. Morrison who qualified an outstanding 5th in her heat seems to be finally over the foot problems that have dogged the beginning of her elite career. The challenge tomorrow will be finding the right opportunities to use her undoubted speed. Kane on the other hand will be looking for the rough detailed legs to gain an edge on her competition.

As for Forne, what can you say. The world 24hour rogaining champion prepared for this championship with a 200km mountain race and a road cycling tour of Iceland. He will bookend it with a month travelling in Nepal and the World Adventure Racing championship in Tasmania. He is not your usual athlete! Starting first expect him to hold the lead until at least halfway down the field.

As for the favourites, eight times world champion Thierry Georgiou must be a good chance although Swede Peter Overgrown defeated him in the qualification. While in the women it is hard to go past the all conquering Swedish team who have garnered five of the six medals won to date.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 19 August 2011, 3:38 PM  
Thanks for that Jamie. Good to know that the abstinence we're all practising back here actually works.

Show Profile  Paul I Posted: 19 August 2011, 3:55 PM  
lol speak for yourself. Penny just started and looked psyched, course looks tough and some women already losing contact

Show Profile  ACW Posted: 19 August 2011, 4:30 PM  
Lizzie in 4th at the 1st radio control

Show Profile  ACW Posted: 19 August 2011, 4:36 PM  
Lizzie into 2nd at the 2nd radio control. Looks composed.

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 19 August 2011, 4:44 PM  
Reeling in Dana Brozhkova! Fantastic viewing!

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 19 August 2011, 4:46 PM  
Lizzie has just caught 2 minutes on one of the top half dozen women in the world!

Show Profile  Martin Posted: 19 August 2011, 4:46 PM  
Go Lizzie!

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 19 August 2011, 4:56 PM  
And a little miss on the last one in the forest. Otherwise flawless.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 19 August 2011, 4:58 PM  
Amber catches the train.

Show Profile  Keith Posted: 19 August 2011, 5:07 PM  
Thanks for the updates Jamie!
oh so close to an amazing run from Lizzie, watching it in the GPS was painful. If it wasn't for that final technical control....
Well done to everyone!

Show Profile  Martin Posted: 19 August 2011, 5:33 PM  
Another amazing run from Lizzie, 3 top 20 placings!

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 19 August 2011, 5:34 PM  
1, Anyone got some uptodate times? Only got one updated at 15:02. 2, where did Helena get the Irish accent?

Show Profile  ACW Posted: 19 August 2011, 5:38 PM  
That was world class Lizzie. Wow!

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