European Youth Orienteering Championships – Sprint Distance
The European Youth Orienteering Championships are currently taking place in the Limousin region of France, and the British team travelled, on Wednesday, by Eurostar and Intercity train from London to Limoges and then onto the event centre in the town of Bugeat by car. The weather conditions were hot (27 degrees) on the day of arrival and the following day, when the team went to the model long and sprint events.
The Sprint Distance Race took place in the old town of Meymec, Correzeand good organisation meant that only residents of the town were permitted inside the town on race day. The athletes were blessed with cloud cover, cooler temperatures (23 degrees) and some light drizzle for the competition. The quarantine area was situated at a leisure centre on the outskirts where the athletes could warm up on the playing field, accompanied by an enthusiastic local dog that ran with them continuously for two hours before tackling the sprint course himself and running into the finish before being put onto his lead and taken home! The finish Arena, located in the ‘Place des Porrots’ saw 331 athletes cross the finish line. France, Poland, Russia and Belgium won the first gold medals of these Championships.
The British team posted some positive results. In the W16 Julie Emmerson finished 12th and said "I was expecting to be top 15. I used Google Earth and Street View to look around the whole town. I've done some short and fast training and so enjoyed the fast running today. I made a mistake towards the finish through hurrying so lost 30 seconds but it was great fun!"
Two of the M16s came tantalisinglyclose to top 20. Joe Woodley finished 21st and Will Rigg 24th. Joe had his first experience of the GPS "TracTrac" and said that he enjoyed it. "I thought it was nice that people would be watching me. I was very relaxed about it and actually forgot about it once I started." Will was happy to be close to top 20 and believes it is a true reflection of where he is in the sprint at the moment.
Will approaching the last control in the Sprint
Katie Reynolds made sure that the speed work she has done over the last two years paid off. She finished 14th and commented on the course, "It was a fast course but with some tricky parts. I had a few blips that cost me a bit of time but it wqs nothing too major."
Once the athletes were home and dry there was just one more race to go. The event wasn't over until the coaches had run! Chris (Smithard) and Elizabeth (Furness) lined up for the mass start and the athletes were delighted to cheer Chris home in first place! The atmosphere at this event was tremendous with lively celebrations enjoyed by athletes, spectators and the local school children who were very excited to watch the athletes’ race along the streets outside their school.
Full results can be found on the European Youth Orienteering Championships website http://www.eyoc2012.fr/
Posted on Friday 29th June 2012