Every second counted at the World Orienteering Championships Sprint final
The WOC 2015 Individual Sprint final took place today and the competition was fierce with every second counting in the final results.
The race arena, that was located in Grant Park, offered a fabulous setting for this event that was to show case the world's best sprinters as they did battle around the streets of Forres. A big screen enabled the spectators to see the live action as it took place, along with GPS tracking, and this resulted in eruptions of cheering whenever a GB athlete was seen on the screen as well as in the arena.
Ruth Holmes and Alice Leake were the first British athletes to start just two minutes apart and had finished their race before their team-mate, Charlotte Ward (pictured) made her assault on the course 29 minutes later. Ruth's final position was 39th (16:33) with Alice finishing in 22nd (15:37) and a delighted Charlotte in 17th. (15:27).
Ruth was disappointed with her position and felt that it hadn't been her day but was, nevertheless, pleased to have been a finalist in the World Championships.
Alice was over the moon with her performance at her WOC debut and described it as the best hour of her life.
Click on the ipadio recording below to hear Charlotte talk about her race. At the time of the recording, we thought she was in 19th but later realised that she had actually recorded 17th position.
The race was won by Maja Alm, of Denmark, with a huge margin of 40 seconds in 13:32 but the margins were reduced after that with Nadiya Volynska, of Ukraine, claiming the silver medal in 14:12 and Galina Vinogradova adding a bronze individual medal to her bronze that she impressively grabbed at the Mixed Sprint Relay last night. Galina's time was 14:24. Sara Luescher of Switzerland was 4th in 14:26, just 0.2 seconds ahead of Hanny Allston of Australia and Miina Kauppi of Finland came home in 6th stopping the clock on 14:27.
There was a brief lull in the arena once the women's race was over but tension levels were soon sky-high again as the men's race got underway.
The British men all had fairly late starts with Scott Fraser 25th to leave the start block. News soon came through that Scott had the fastest time at the 6th control and the crowd roared as he ran through the arena and then eagerly awaited his return after the final loop. His sprint finish was impressive but there was a visible slump of the crowd as they heard that he had finished one second down on the current leader, Vojtech Kral. Scott's final position was 13th. Although Scott was initially pleased with his run, he later realised that he had missed some of the best route choices, as he explains in the recording below.
Murray Strain was the next British athlete to enter the stadium to the same level of support that had greeted Scott and a mass of supporters ran from where they had greeted him at the run-through to voice their support in the finishing straight. Murray came home for 18th position and was unable to hide his disappointment.
Kris Jones had the second to last start giving his supporters chance to gather together with a mix of British and Welsh flags and banners that promised him doughnuts at the finish - a favourite post-race snack perhaps?! The noise in the arena was immense when Kris appeared and again as he finished in 8th place and just 12 seconds off a gold medal.
Click on the ipadio recording below to hear an interview with Kris after the race.
The men's results below show how small the margins were:
1st Jonas Leandersson - Sweden (13:12)
2nd Martin Hubmann - Switzerland (13:14)
3rd Jerker Lysell - Sweden (13:16)
4th Marten Bostrom - Finland (13:19)
5th Yannick Michiels - Belgium (13:20)
6th Daniel Hubmann - Switzerland (13:21)
Watch all the action on the BBC ALBA iplayer here.
Full results from today's races can be found here.
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