World Orienteering Championships – Middle Distance Qualification
Today the athletes were racing on the Jura hill plateau in the Middle Distance Qualification races, and the British women achieved a feat that that hasn’t been realised since 2006, a 100% qualification record across the Sprint, Middle and Long Distance Qualification races!
In the women’s qualifications the Russian Tatyana Riabkina followed up her qualification win yesterday with another win today in heat A. Tove Alexandersson (SWE), fresh from JWOC dominated heat B and Simone Niggli-Luder (SUI) once more qualified as the winner of heat C.
All three of the British women qualified comfortably Rachael Rothman came home in 10th, Claire Ward finished 7th (this is the third time she has come 7th this week), and Helen Palmer was 6th in heat C, only 2:40 minutes down on Simone.
A smiling and happy Helen said of her race “I am really happy and relieved to get through the race with no big mistakes and 2:41 behind Simone is probably the closest I will ever get to her in a race.” She was also asked about the 100% record for the women and she commented “It’s amazing; we are so on fire this year.”
Helen Palmer (Credit - Martin Ward)
Rachael was asked about how her race had gone today and she said “I made two mistakes, the first was on a bingo depression and then I panicked a bit and missed the next one as well, but other than that it was all really good and I was pleased to qualify 10th.” She was then asked about her tactics for tomorrows final and she mentioned that it would be a different race tomorrow with less slope orienteering, and more meadows with detailed contours which would require concentration and well planned leg execution.
Rachael Rothman (Credit - Martin Ward)
In the men’s qualifications, the great Frenchman Thierry Gueorgiou had a comfortable win in heat A, Gernot Kerschbaumer (AUT) qualified in first position in heat B, and the Norwegian Karl Waaler Kaas won heat C.
For the British men it was a similar story to yesterday with only Graham Gristwood, who finished 11th in his heat, qualifying for the Middle Distance Final. Unfortunately Mark Nixon (16th) narrowly missed out on qualifying for the final by 2 seconds and Doug Tullie finished in 22nd in his heat.
After Graham’s race he was asked if he had had any problems and he mentioned “I have been injured and also sick a lot this year hence missing all of the test races, so as it’s my forth race of the year I’m pretty happy. I had one bad route choice where I didn’t take a very good line through some green otherwise it was a stable race.” When asked about his thoughts for tomorrow’s race he talked about the predicted winning time being faster than today so therefore suspected that the forest would be less green, maybe with a few more path routes and meadow running.
Graham Gristwood (Credit - Martin Ward)
Immediately after Mark had finished he was asked how he felt after his first ever WOC race and he said “Fine. People have asked me if I was feeling good and I just feel normal. OK it is my first WOC race, but I have run in the Europeans and World Universities this year and I am not getting nervous. For me, it’s about picking up the map and doing what I have to do. I had a simple plan, read the contours and use my compass. I took a good look at the course at the start and saw that the second half looked relatively easy whilst it was the beginning of the course that looked a bit tricky, so I took it steady, taking the path options where I could.” Asked if he had done enough to qualify, Mark knew that it would be tight and is gutted not to have made the final on his debut.
Mark Nixon (Credit - Martin Ward)
Full results can be found on the World Orienteering Championships here
Tomorrow the athletes compete for the Middle Distance medals in St-Cergue / Col de la Givrine.
Posted on Monday 16th July 2012