The British team were back in Strömstad, today, for the Mixed Sprint Relay writes Ed Nicholas.
Great Britain had high hopes of a top result with all of the team in good shape to deliver great performances.
Charlotte Ward started on first Leg. Racing hard, Charlotte kept pace in the second group of around seven teams who were close behind the front group of Sweden, Denmark and Poland. Fighting hard to the finish Charlotte finished in 8th place 34 seconds off the lead. A very good start for the team.
Peter Hodkinson was next up on second leg. Peter made some initial gains climbing up to 5th place at one point and exchanging positions with the other athletes around him before handing over to Kris Jones in 9th place. This left Great Britain 1:08 off the leaders, Denmark, but still within touching distance of a top position.
The challenge was then taken up by Kris Jones (pictured) who ran an incredible 3rd Leg and the fastest of the day by some margin. Starting quickly Kris soon started passing other teams and was up to 6th at the first radio check. Kris started to bring down the lead of those teams, in the medal positions, and was soon close behind bronze medal position held by Switzerland. Kris finished up 4th. Just 37 seconds down on gold and seven seconds behind bronze.
Kris Jones racing in the 3rd Leg.
Photo credit: Dave Rollins
Cat Taylor took the final Leg. Cat worked tremendously hard over the course. Although she was unable to catch either Judith Wyder of Switzerland or Helena Janson of Sweden, she made sure the team finished ahead of fast final Legs from Russia, Norway and the Czech Republic.
Charlotte said, after the race: "It is another step in the right direction for our team. We're all so happy with the result. It's great when a plan comes together, and today I think we delivered the best result possible. It was a hard decision for me not to run in the Sprint Final, but I really wanted to give everything for my team, to see what we could do. I felt very well prepared with clear goals, and I am pleased that I met my aims. I felt disappointed that I couldn't get Peter off to a better start, but on reflection I think it was a good performance. I know there is more to come, and I am so excited for 2017 and beyond! Thanks to all the supporters, both here in Sweden, and those back in the UK."
Above photo: Cat Taylor (4th Leg), Kris Jones (3rd Leg), Liz Campbell (Head Coach for Performance), Peter Hodkinson (2nd Leg) and Charlotte Ward (1st Leg). Photo credit: Dave Rollins
Above photo: Cat Taylor (4th Leg) racing to the Finish.
Credit: Erik Borg
Kris Jones, said after the race: "I think we knew that we could perform well and still not get a medal today, which is what happened. As a team we did a great job and it was a great feeling to still be in the fight for a medal on the last Leg. It was a great team to be part of, we gave it everything."
Photo left to right: Peter Hodkinson congratulates Cat Taylor, with Charlotte Ward, Kris Jones and Dave Rollins (Senior Team Manager) looking on. Credit: Erik Borg
Peter Hodkinson, said: "That was an unforgettable experience. I think we've known we could threaten the medals for a few years and it feels great to deliver a result which is close to our potential. I'm really proud of my teammates and I think there's more to come in the future."
Mixed Relay Team (left to right): Cat Taylor (4th Leg), Kris Jones (3rd Leg), Peter Hodkinson (2nd Leg) and Charlotte Ward (1st Leg).
This was Great Britain's best result in the discipline, bettering the sixth place from the World Orienteering Championships 2014 in Italy.
Tomorrow (Monday 22 August) is a rest day before the forest races start on Tuesday (23 August) with the Middle distance. Results of the Sprint Relay can be found here.
Item posted by Jennie Taylor, Marketing Manager
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